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. CJ in AlObama

    Spoken like the true expert on Lies that he is . He surely knows a lie when he sees one.

    MCcain surely doesn't since he is fairly new to the lying game .

    MCCain use to be honorable. but no more!

    Odd that they sent some former Rove educated campaigner advisers to travel with Palin to make sure she learns how to lie like and expert!

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

    there is no doubt in my mind that Obama will win this election.
    the electoral map shows that this will happen and there are not enough idiotic religious fanatics in this country to put the lying duo in office.

    September 14, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. jam

    jim in chicago sounds just like mccain.. so what if mccain is telling lies.. WHO CARES?? i'll have you know jim, Lots of Americans do care..

    and you should care... but it already appears that you, jim, & mccain, are a lost cause to the truth.. how sad!

    wake up, open your eyes, and see where this country is heading with more bush ideas..

    September 14, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Lisa

    This is something serious...

    September 14, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Mark

    Who cares? Seriously, Jim? It's called being honest with the American people, and it matters. You'd think that, after beind lied to about a war, voters would want truth and substance from their leaders but the last few weeks have shown otherwise.

    September 14, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. Jen, GA

    The only reason McCain's numbers have gone up is because he picked a cute and spunky running mate without regard for her qualifications because he knows America will always pick style over substance.

    p.s. When Sam Brownback was asked what was so great about Sarah Palin, all he could say was, "she's spunky."

    September 14, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. c. anthony

    Lie, cheat, steal votes, lock innocent governors in jail–and that's just Rove. Now McCain wants to go even further to the dark side. Once again the "Maverick" proves he is more of the same McCain.

    September 14, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Rob in Florida

    Who Cares!?! Are you kidding me? I care for one and so should you. I don't want a president who had t win with lies, and I certanly don't want one who thinks the American people are tupid enough to listen to it. I care, I want the facts, hell I want the truth!!! Mccain and Palin are pulling the wool over your eyes Jim, I just hope that the rest of America wakes up in time before it's to late.

    September 14, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Lady

    $$$$$$$ mcWar is bought by big oil companies$$$$$$$$$$

    September 14, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Jarod

    Hey, he's right. Is that really what you want, another liar in office?

    September 14, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. D from Ashburn, VA

    JIm – so you are for people and a government that lies? You must be the poster child for the republican party.

    September 14, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Alaska and Arizona POW for Obama/Biden

    He is lying his way up to the white house. America this is a warning sign. McCain/Palin are not telling you the truth imagine what they will do when they get in. Do not believe any promise make by McCain/Palin they are all lies.

    September 14, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. LettuceB1

    Rove saying McCain went to far is one of the signs of the Apocalypse. We should all be worried. If America needs Rove to point out McCain's sleazy tactics we are in worse shape then I thought.

    September 14, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. John Smith

    Well, just look at the mistakes of the past 8 years!! But then, the only qualification for being a Republican is- Know How to Lie about your neighbour!!

    It is also the Christian spirirt– trash, trash, and trash

    September 14, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Obwes

    Glad to see that McLiar is finally getting called out!

    September 14, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Cheryl

    And ol' Karl loves every lying bit of it.

    September 14, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Obama/Biden

    Vote smart this November. Vote good judgment. If you say that our economy is good now, you are an elitist and you do not know our struggle to put food on our bellies and gas in our cars. John McCain that elitist think the economy is good and has no plan to help us. He wants more wars, more tax cut for big corporate that ship our jobs oversees. Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania I know that your economies are hurting and you must vote smart and vote someone who understands your economics’ struggles. It is not time to support someone just for race or gender, it is time to take our country back and get our respect back around the world. Vote Democratic this November if you are a true American who put America first. We need change in Washington and the Democratic Party has that change for us this November.

    September 14, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Brad in IL

    Sadly Americans are not interested in the truth, they are interested in the juicy gossip. If American voters cared about the truth they would educate themselves and, if they educated themselves, then we would have no race. Obama would already have this wrapped up.

    Karl Rove knows this best.

    September 14, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. Quinn - Houston, Texas

    If KARL ROVE says McCain's ads are untrue and go too far, then...

    Obama / Biden 08!

    September 14, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. Mark in Ohio

    Does anyone REALLY trust Rove ??? He is still very much a part of things for the GOP.

    September 14, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Tom

    If Americans are gullible enough to fall for McSame, then we will all get what we deserve.

    September 14, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Chris, OH

    "Who cares?" See, this is the problem with Republicans. They think of elections as nothing more than games of ego that they need to win. They don't care about truth or justice, or whether their policies are going to make other people suffer. All the care about is winning.

    Disgusting.

    September 14, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Paul from Florida

    Jim, Chicago is right.
    The American voter doesn't care. This is the Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars era and we are totally unaffected by the truth.

    September 14, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. Susan in Chicago

    Jim, Chicago – If you truly believe a dishonest and nasty campaign are the way to go, then you're just a bad as they are. How pathetic if that's the only way your candidates can win!

    I admit I'm in shock that the devil himself, Rove, is making this statement. Either he is up to something, or even he's trying to distance himself from McCain's campaign. More and more is coming out about Pack-of-lies-Palin that is not going to be a good reflection on her as well as McCain since he picked her. Plus, he may actually have to discuss the issues!!

    This is what happens when you try and "hide" a candidate from the public and the media so they don't have to answer questions. Only makes people dig harder and faster when suspicions are raised!

    Stay the honest track and run a clean campaign Obama and the truth will prevail this time!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 14, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. s

    Rove using the word "truth" is 1984 Orwellian bigtime!

    September 14, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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