September 14th, 2008
03:54 PM ET
7 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. Nicole

    To Jim from Chicago:

    I care, and you should too. If McCain is qualified and Obama is so bad, McCain should be able to put out ads that are 100% truthful and still win the election. The fact is, he is having to make stuff up about Obama in order to make good ads. That is sad and pathetic.

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

    You don't say Rove, a lying criminal tells us McCain is a dishonorable lying man who rather win an election than lose his integrity?

    September 14, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Molly

    Hey, I love the add by Obama about the time warp that Obama was Not in and that McCain Was in. You know the one about the cube and the phone. I just changed my vote to McCain! And Hillary had convinced me to vote for Obama. Guess I'm just too old to vote for Obama!!!

    September 14, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Cynthia - Arkansas

    On step,, 100% truth test, my foot. They have gone MILES too far. The public is waking up to the fact that McCain and Palin are LIARS. They weren't banking on people being smart enought to spot it this time. It's always worked before!

    September 14, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Ben, Jersey City

    Karl Rove is still clearing a check from the neo-cons. This won't have much of a shelf life into next week's news cycle, he's just defusing the obviousness of the same scripted playbook that he helped to write in the first place.

    September 14, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Jerry, NC

    After all that negative campaining by McCain, and the "big" bump he got after the Repub convention, he only has a 1 point lead in the very misleading polls??? NO! Jim, Chicago...It's the McCain party that's going down for the count and KNOCK OUT!

    September 14, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Roland

    Born in Chicago, Who Cares. America Cares. If it's vote for a party because your a member, thats a weak and lame litmus test. Reach beyond party lines and undersand what we face as a country. Vote for someone who voted with the sitting president 90% of the time and now is now a born again "American First". Eights years of someone everyone wanted to have a beer with because "he was just like them" now four more years of someone you can go to a hockey game with? Please America, Think about the choice and America's future with fact and not with your emotions. Elections start with a honeymoon and ends in a marriage.

    September 14, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Rob, Miami

    This is just a tactic. The ads might be strong, but the TRUTH hurts!
    Obama will loose this election!

    McCain/Palin 08'

    September 14, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Al Bond

    I never thought I'd see the day when Rove would admit that republicans lie. it just shows that McLame and Failin are even worse liars on the campaign than Bush was. Unbelievable! And that indicates that they will be even more dishonet in office too. Voting for McLame and Failin is the act of a traitor to the Unites States of Amerca because you are insuring the futher destruction of our country that Bush has started. Get us into as many wars as possible and then borrow the money from other countries so they pretty much own us. And then when they call in the debt our country collapses. The republicans are much more effective at destroying our country than the terrorists could ever be.

    September 14, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. LocalLiberal

    100% Truth to "Bush's brain" is about 10% to us average Americans. So McCain must be running at about 02.5%.

    September 14, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Lillian Hubler

    I hope the people of America ask themselves one important question, are we better off now then we were 8 years ago???? If the answer is no then it is clear that we need a change that works (Obama/Baden for 2008). If the answer is yes then (McCain/Palin for 2008). Anyone that has been in America for the past 8 years so the answer to be a big NOOOOO and we need to stop this. I believe that McCain/Palin would be a total disaster for America and Rove is starting to understand that as well.

    September 14, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. alvino

    Could it be that the Master of Sleaze is not happy with Yoda?

    September 14, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Puhleeze

    So McCain's ad is somehow sleazier than Obama's digusting sleaze fest against Palin's family, her newborn and her daughter that we all had to endure? The Obama campaign certainly has a strange definition of "sleazy."

    September 14, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. Amy

    When Rove calls you a liar, you KNOW you're in trouble!

    But btw, isn't this like Rove calling himSELF a liar since he's behind so much of McCain's campaign?

    September 14, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Simon

    Perhaps Rove is just trying to curry favour with the Democrats to avoid prosecution for his many crimes against the USA. Speaking of which – why isn't he in the Senate jail cell right now for contempt of congress???

    September 14, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. So Much For Country First...

    To Jim from Chicago

    Who cares!?!?!?!?

    Are you serious... Who cares that his ads misrepresent the facts and that he is being completely disingenious?

    Thats the exact mentality which is responsible for placing this counrty in the position it's in:

    -soring unemployment
    -rising inflation
    -corporate socialism
    -worthless dollar
    -billions in national debt
    -crumbling housing market
    – failing educational system

    but then again who cares, right?

    If you exemplify the mentality behind the McCain/Palin camp, they I know they are truly desperate... So much for country first.

    September 14, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Obama/Biden

    WOW................. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

    September 14, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Mama Sue, Chicago, Illinois

    Jim, a lot of people care. That's the whole point of Obama's campaign. The funny think is, your vote won't even matter, since Obama is clearly going to take Illinois.

    September 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. Richard

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


    That summarizes the mentality of many Republicans.

    September 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Anna Bechtel

    Karl rove is just slime, but as bad as he is, the people at the Vote Values Summit really take the cake. Have you seen the Obama Waffles being sold there with racist pictures of Barack Obama on the package? Apparently, Loe Dobbs thinks they're funny and Bill Bennet was at the summit as well. What kind of values do these people have?

    September 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Mark From Tennessee

    Hey Jim, be careful what you wish for. If you liked the last eight, you will probably love what McPallin has in store for you. The rest of us ordinary Americans will just sit back and take it up the wazoo yet again!

    September 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. a _nebraskan's all a sad state. and WE, the american people, all of us, every last citizen of this country, have allowed our political system to stoop to such a low level. it's our fault that we continually prove that these cheap tactics and strategies work. we should be ashamed of ourselves...

    September 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. druid

    Rove can say all he want, What I know is American people don't care for issues as we say. We care for beauty and don't care what comes after that. We sit down and say I need issue while we are tripping over things that are non issues. It looks likes we will have another four more years added to the last eight in economic boom. I think that is what is we want and boy we will get it in abundant.

    September 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Andy

    Mr. Rove, what goes around, comes around!! You are the last person who should complain.

    September 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. mr. reality

    when the far right says you've gone to far that means you have leaped off the building.

    obama '08

    September 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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