September 14th, 2008
03:54 PM ET
3 years ago

Rove: Some McCain ads don't pass '100 percent truth' test

Karl Rove had some rare criticism for McCain Sunday.
Karl Rove had some rare criticism for McCain Sunday.

(CNN) – Former Bush adviser Karl Rove suggested Sunday that John McCain had gone “one step too far” in some of his recent ads attacking Barack Obama.

Rove has leveled similar criticism against Obama. “McCain has gone in some of his ads - similarly gone one step too far,” he told Fox News, “and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the ‘100 percent truth’ test.”

Watch: The campaign ad wars heat up

The Obama campaign immediately leaped on the quote. "In case anyone was still wondering whether John McCain is running the sleaziest, most dishonest campaign in history, today Karl Rove - the man who held the previous record - said McCain's ads have gone too far," said campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor, in a statement sent to reporters minutes after Rove’s on-air comments.

Listen: the Obama camp slams McCain in Sunday conference call


Rove masterminded both of President Bush’s successful White House bids, including a tough primary season battle with John McCain in 2000.

UPDATE: Rove said Sunday Democrats e-mailing around his quote without noting that he levels similar criticism against Obama were distorting his meaning. “Of course, they fail to say anything about the fact I said they were even more misleading,” he told Politico.


Filed under: John McCain • Karl Rove
soundoff (720 Responses)
  1. change

    McCane\ Palin 08 will dangerous for the US, McCane is 72 years old,Palin will finish his first term, she has no foreign policy experinece. The campaign is full of lies and you that representing our country. Eight years is enough.

    September 14, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Diego

    Jim,
    You are an example of what is wrong in politics today. There should be a WWE death match, no hold bar. The candidates should be an example of whats great about America. Not an example displaying every trait you, were taught not to do growing up.

    September 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Don

    When Carl Rove says, "You're a sleaze." You're a sleaze.

    In response to Sue in MI. Read one of the supermarket tabloids this week. I know. It's a supermarket tabloid, but much of what we are learning about Gov. Palin belongs in a supermarket tabloid to begin with. This is better than the LogoTV series "Sordid Lives".

    September 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. elaine

    It is really scary what this country has turned into. People have no integrity nor self-respect. I am sick to my stomach when I saw the ads that Rove is referring to. In the same manner that I am disgusted from just reading some ot the comments here. I guess it does not really matter to some people whether someone is honest and telling the truth or not. It really is sad. Are people in the country now are so dense that they can't tell right from wrong and that they will let this country go down the drain with the likes of McCain and Palin? My God, I hope people wake up and realize what is happening here!

    September 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. ashley

    When Karl Rove is basically calling you a liar, you know you've lost all integrity McCain. I'm even more disappointed in him than I was before. Stop trying to bamboozle the American people.

    Obama has my vote.

    September 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. Mike Hunt

    Yes the Republicans will steal another election and give us four more years of war and recession while we march towards an environmental disaster.

    Amazing how myopic some of you GOP supporters are. Just can't wait to launch a war with Iran!

    September 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. Ephy

    Rove:
    you got it but you cannot be trusted.

    September 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. Peter E

    Oh, so NOW you trust Rove? Whatever happened to all those posts saying Rove lies 100% of the time?

    September 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Mark

    Is it another technique Rove is playing now? Or he realised that this year No way-norepublican, so he might face some difficult time while Democrats are in W.H. He is trying to be in safe side now!!! I am wondering. Truth is coming out now though, this is the good thing.

    September 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Griff

    Neither does this one. Accuracy is hard to find. Even on a Ten Dollar Bill..

    September 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Broken Hearted Sailor

    Mr. McCain, I have served my country as a member of the US Navy for 14 wonderful years. In that time I have had many leaders. Some good, some bad. But with the good and bad there was always one constent. Integrity. The integrity to tell the truth, to uphold the Navys core value's. Do you remember your core values Mr. McCain? As a former Naval Officer and a leader of young men and woman, I expected more of you. You must be ashamed to tramp around the country telling us all of your service and sacrifice for your country. And at the same time knowing you are doing it to win at all cost. I would not and could not serve under you as a naval officer or as my president. You have no honor, no courage and no comittment. Shame on you for spreading lies, and encouraging others to do the same. Take off that navy ballcap, you dont deserve to wear it. I love my country and i love the US Navy. If you are elected, i will not be able to continue my career, which i have loved very very much. I could never serve under a man that hides behind his service and spreads lies, and dishonesty. Shame on you sir, shame on you...

    September 14, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. gene

    Wow.. when even Rove has to come out and say that McCain's ads disgust him... that's like the devil saying "wow dude.. you're evil" :)

    September 14, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Brian

    To Jim: Obama is hardly "way down for the count."

    There's way more registered Democrats than Republicans. Recent polls have been oversampling Republicans. Despite McCain's reputation as a "maverick," he still splits the independent vote evenly with Obama.

    September 14, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Trish, Florida

    Who cares. It's working and Obama is on the way down for the count.
    McCain/Palin 08′

    Sure, Jim. Who cares about truth and integrity? It's all about winning, right?

    September 14, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. DeGee

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......."100 precent truth" test?

    Really, Karl?
    Really?

    Since when did you worry about such things?

    September 14, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Robin

    You know the McCain campaign has a truth problem when Karl Rove recognizes it. But even the discussion about the McCain campaign's - I'm trying to find another word, but the one that works here is "lies" - even the discussion about the McCain campaign's lies is distracting attention from the real problems our country faces. With Lehman Bros. on the verge of collapse, and a storm showing the weakness of our infrastracture, the candidates should be focused on discussing issues, and that the press would cover them when they do. The press should be focusing on the fact that the McCain campaign doesn't have a real economic program beyond the Bush administration's policies - that's a real story with very serious consequences for the country.

    September 14, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Garrison, Tukwila, WA

    Jim, Who cares???!!! I can't believe you even asked that.

    People who are ready for their government to work FOR them. Not for themselves.

    September 14, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Chris

    Jim, Chicago writes:

    "Who cares. It's working and Obama is on the way down for the count.

    McCain/Palin 08′"

    Typical GOP mindset. Lie, lie , lie...that's all you guys ever do. Swiftboating, fear mongering idiots. Mccain's ads are lies and they say "Who cares. It's working...". Instead of running on issues, the republican thugs are going to lie their way into the oval office. It was rightfully noted in Denver that "McCain's no maverick, he's a sidekick!" This McCain is no longer the maverick from 2000, he has resorted to smear tactics and swiftboat politics against Obama's superior issues based campaign...and the American people are buying the lies. Pathetic. You want Obama to talk specifics yet you can't even provide specifics on how a McCain presidency will be any different than Bush! Well, if people are stupid enough to buy into all this Sarah Palin nonsense and McCain's "maverick" credentials, I guess you'll be getting exactly what you deserve...another stupid president. Enjoy the recession you're about to experience.

    September 14, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Jeffrey

    Most Americans aren't as stupid as the news media makes us out to be. Ads really aren't effective one way or another; we expect them to be ridiculous. Polls don't hold a lot of weight right now either. It's all going to come down to the debates.

    September 14, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. mya

    Now if Sleazy Karl Rove said that things have gone too far....that is saying A LOT!!!

    September 14, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. carolyn

    I can proudly say I have NEVER voted for a republican president in all my years! However.... This year McCain Palin have my loud and proud vote. I simply cannot bring myself to vote for Mr. Obama and his unrealistic ideals of what be can do. Dem's have you lost me forever? Time will tell. Next time give me a candidate of substance not pipe dreams.

    September 14, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. Bobby

    mccain will pay on nov 4th

    September 14, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. needs no comment

    the 100% truth test, i like that.

    September 14, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. R. Cooper

    Rove's siding with Obama? He should if he wants to avoid a nuclear war!

    September 14, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Walter, Long Beach

    Jim's post says all you need to hear about the Republican Party's commitment to the truth.

    "Who Cares? It's working..."

    September 14, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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