July 5th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
5 years ago

Rove: Palin's resignation lacks clear strategy

Republican strategist Karl Rove said Sunday that Gov. Sarah Palin's decision to step down risky and not clear.
Republican strategist Karl Rove said Sunday that Gov. Sarah Palin's decision to step down risky and not clear.

(CNN) - The "architect" of George W. Bush's successful presidential campaigns has questions about Sarah Palin's resignation as governor.

"It's a risky strategy," Republican campaign mastermind Karl Rove told "Fox News Sunday."

Palin's unexpected announcement Friday that she will step down with 18 months left in her first term has left many in her party "a little perplexed," said Rove, whom Bush dubbed "The Architect" for managing his two victorious campaigns in 2000 and 2004.

Palin, who was John McCain's surprise vice presidential candidate in the 2008 election, said she already knew she would not seek a second term, and decided against being a lame duck governor for the next 18 months.

She also complained that too much time and taxpayer expense was going toward fighting ethics investigations, and that the mainstream media continued with unfair attacks on her and her family.

Some analysts believe Palin will seek the 2012 Republican nomination, and that her resignation is intended to free her to prepare.

Rove said stepping down now won't lessen the media spotlight, and in fact takes away her platform as governor for controlling her agenda and message.

"The media, if she wants to run for president, is going to be following her for the next 3-1/2 years," Rove said.

He called her move unclear and therefore a potentially harmful strategy for a politician.

"Effective strategies in politics are ones that are so clear and obvious that people can grasp," Rove said. "It's not clear what she's doing and why."

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska criticized Palin's decision as abandoning the state's voters. Palin defeated Murkowski's father in winning the gubernatorial election in 2006.

But Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, also on the Fox program, said Sunday that Murkowski's statement disappointed him because it failed to recognize all that Palin has accomplished in her 2-1/2 years in office.

"She doesn't need a title to effect change and bring some hope to people who need it," said Parnell, a Republican who stands to become governor with Palin's resignation.

In an Independence Day message to supporters, Palin said she was leaving office for a "higher calling."

"How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it's about country," Palin said in a statement attributed to her on her Facebook page. "And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make. But every American understands what it takes to make a decision because it's right for all, including your family."

Palin said her administration had "accomplished more during this one term than most governors do in two."

"We have accomplished so much and there's much more to do, but my family and I determined after prayerful consideration that sacrificing my title helps Alaska most," she said. "And once I decided not to run for re-election, my decision was that much easier - I've never been one to waste time or resources."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, noted that Palin will remain in the media spotlight regardless of whether she is governor.

"The challenge that she's going to have is that there will be people who will say, look, if they chased you out of this, it won't get any easier at other levels," Huckabee said. "It could be a brilliant strategy. The point is we don't know."

Huckabee called a presidential campaign "brutal," and said a Republican primary will ratchet up the pressure on Palin.

"When your opponents within your own team spend millions of dollars to redefine you, it's very very difficult," Huckabee said.


Filed under: Karl Rove • Mike Huckabee • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Thea

    Aw, christawmity ... did you catch Parnell's statement that she doesn't need a title to give people hope?

    Does this remind anyone of ... Lord Althorp, Princess Diana's brother, delivering that jab to the royal family for having taken away her "HRH" designation in his eulogy at her funeral? "She needed no title to work her special brand of magic."

    Palin's self-opinion of being the cutest little trick in toeshoes indicates that shes been inhaling too much AquaNet. Time to exit, stage left, right, or into the orchestra pit, Sarah.

    July 5, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. mason

    Rove had his day. Why doesn't he crawl back into his hole and let the country go on without his (and Cheny's) opinions.

    July 5, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. ThinkAboutIt

    OK, I'll admit it: I was wrong in thinking Karl Rove was advising Palin, given that she's a female version of his golden puppet, George W. Bush.

    After reading her announcement speech, it just becomes more and more apparent how lacking in thought (not to mention the fundamentals of English writing – hard to believe she has a degree in journalism!) and judgment she is.

    Leading is more than about "you betchas" and winks. This woman is so over her head as she tries to keep herself on the national stage.

    July 5, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Ralph

    When she resurfaces from her 'higher calling', she will do her usual whining and blame the media. She learned from Bush as to not take responsibility for any of her actions.

    July 5, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. brant

    It's a shame that politician's family members get roasted the way they do, but don't forget that SP trotted all those kids out on the stage to show her family values in the first place – then complains when not everyone sees them they way she wants them to be seen.

    I cannot help but believe she aspires to run for POTUS. However, I believe the chance that she could outdo Pawlenty or Romney as the GOP selection is as likely to occur as a ressurrection of Michael Jackson.

    And besides, regardless of your party affiliation, don't we as intelligent citizens deserve intelligent leaders? Sarah Palin is bound by a myopic view of what a leader even is. It would be a mortal danger to have her in any level of National Government.

    July 5, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Chris

    I hope she gets the GOP nomination!
    Shes is so wonderfully stupid. I wonder who is pulling her strings now.

    July 5, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Champly

    To the moderator – Joshua Fletcher has stepped over the line in his reference to Trigg Palin.

    July 5, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. r schier

    One worthless bafoon, commenting on another. The only value Palin's latest episode has, is to give us all some small break to
    the superfluous Michael Jackson coverage......

    July 5, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Bob

    If anybody wants to see the real Sarah Palin and just how truly compassionate and intelligent she really is, I would strongly suggest doing a search on "Sarah Palin + turkey video". For those who haven't seen this classic document yet... it is a true eye opener, but not intended for the squeamish!

    July 5, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. inbatt18

    Sooooooooooo..........Does this mean that IF Sarah Palin were elected president (highly unlikely) and IF she were elected to a second term (nearly impossible), she would resign before her last term was over?? She would be a "lame duck" then, too, right? I'm sure her policies for the nation would be just as destructive as they were for Alaska, so the heat on her would be even more intense. She's a quitter and loser...'Nuff said.

    July 5, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Creatrix

    She's the Forrest Gump of politics. It could work.

    July 5, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Gumboz1953

    The difference between Obama's "quitting" and Palin's quitting is that Obama didn't quit until he was elected to something higher. If McCain had been elected President, he too would have "quit" his Senate seat.

    Palin just quit - full stop.

    I didn't think her speech was as "incoherent" as some have called it, but I wished she would have slowed down, taken a breath, and wiped that silly grin off her face. Somebody described the delivery as being like a 13-year-old breathlessly reviewing a Jonas Brothers album. Perfect description.

    July 5, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. mary

    Hmmmmm – I wonder, knowing what we know now.
    Unemployment at 10% & growing – foreclosures and lives ruined forever, other countries think we are now not the force we once were – a debt even my g'kids can't pay off, the list could go on and on, but, knowing this – would you all vote for him again?

    Forget Palin/McCain – would you vote for Obama again – knowing what you know now?

    July 5, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. cm

    For sure she is not staying home taking care of her children, she is going for the Gold... money, money, money must be funny in the rich men world... book, tv show, spotlight ... in the name of the rich and famous life style she wants to have, that's all. Whatever she can do to get there she will do it, nothing wrong with someone making their own decisions but please don't say is higher calling-she is not thinking about the people of Alaska she is just thinking abour herself.

    July 5, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. ck

    Why doesn’t she not “put Alaskans through the same old politics as usual with a lame duck politician” by simply taking the unconventional approach of just not behaving as she describes a lame politician would… “travelling around their state, taking their overseas international trade missions, hitting the road, drawing a paycheck and kinda milking it’? Wouldn’t it be best for the constituents who elected her for their Governor to “continue her positive agenda and accomplishments with efficiencies and effectiveness”, if she is even capable of delivering on that promise?

    July 5, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Wanderer

    How many people knew or heard about Mrs. Palin before she joined Mc Cain in the presidential campaign in 2008? How many times Mr. Mc Cain did talk to her before he picked her as the VP candidate? The GOP base was excited by this. Now, with her resignation, is the GOP still excited?

    July 5, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. K. in Miami

    This woman has become somewhat of a political circus.....

    I think she's proved that she can cast judgement on others, but can't handle judgement passed on her.....

    The press conference that she gave will be kept on hardrives and CD's along with the video footage of the Hate Rallys that she led during the Presidential Campagne, these things WONT GO AWAY...!

    That press conference was really quite PATHETIC, it showed alot of Childish and confusing behavoir.......

    Women like Hillary Clinton, and even Nancy Pelosi have come across as very viable women that most people take serious, I wish I could say the same about Sarah Palin.

    John McCain took a huge gamble on picking Sarah Palin, boy did he loose big time, I also think in mainstream America, Ms. Palin is viewed as someone that is definetaly not Presidential material, she's more like Comedy Show Material......

    July 5, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. RS in STL

    MK July 5th, 2009 12:49 pm ET

    I get so sick of people talking about "socialism" when discussing our Government! Here is what it is……"Socialism: noun 1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. "

    Look how well that system has worked throughout History.

    Just ask Mickhail Gorbachev.

    No scare tactics MK, just the facts.

    You're probably not old enough to have lived through the Cold War or you would know the difference!

    July 5, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. marcus

    this bothers karl rove because he was foolish enough to think sarah palin could make a legitimate run at the white house. people saw enough of her in the past election cycle to know she is a truly dim-witted individual and lacks the basic knowledge of things like international history and economics. the democratic party would love nothing more than to see her as the republican nominee for president in 2012. she'll carry the most radical right-wing fringe groups. the GOP is a mess, and sarah was getting her head handed to her in alaska. i have NO doubt she realizes she can make a LOT more money doing speaking engagements, and having someone write her biography.. that's why she resigned

    July 5, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. kelly

    Always wise to take advice to a man who is a college drop out.
    Also W's 8 years were the best we never had.

    July 5, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. gl, Pittsburgh

    This is not a a risky strategy – its the behavior of an immature woman who wants the national spotlight – and craves attention – even when its negative.
    -------------------------------

    I have to agree with you on you comment.

    July 5, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Mike

    Just what we should have had in the VP office. A quitter. Feminists should be projectile vomiting. What a disgrace she is.

    July 5, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Peter (CA)

    Wow, even Satan says it's a bad idea...

    There really isn't much to see here. A clueless, ideologue who loves the limelight but is incapable of the intellect necessary to be in national office, leaves Alaska in the lurch because she is too concerned about her own future and not those of the people she was elected to govern.

    Whine all you want right wingers. Sarah Palin doesn't scare us. What is scary is that there are voters (although thank God, only a small number) who think that someone who believes the earth is 6000 years old and that God sent us into Iraq would make a fine President.
    I'm pretty sure God had better things to do than send us into Iraq.

    July 5, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Republican Joke

    Sarah Palin is just a bad politically incorrect joke. Just as much of a joke as the typical "holier than thou" Republican attitude, with country and security as the most important things. South Carolina's REPUBLICAN governor went AWOL, leaving his State without leadership, to meet his mistress out of the Country. Idaho's REPUBLICAN senator solicits gay sex in an airport bathroom. Sarah's quitting as a REPUBLICAN governor just fits right in. More and more there is evidence of what I have known for years - the conservative right is neither conservative nor right. Even Ann Coulter implied that cold blooded murder was OK as long as someone with whom you disagree is the one killed. The hypocrisy and hatred that is the cornerstone of the GOP platform makes me sick to my stomach.

    July 5, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. dc matthews

    Alaska has a whole new meaning for Independence Day....
    An entire state Dumped by your own governor . It appears to divorce herself from what she's done and would do- for her personal 2012 aspirations?

    Hey Alaskans, best to check on any hidden damage she's trying to leave behind ASAP.

    July 5, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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