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. dave

    pleasego back to you igloo and let us never hear or see you again!!!!

    July 5, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. Buckhorn

    I always thought "Higher calling" meant preaching the Gospel of God"

    July 5, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. dave

    please go back to your igloo and let us never hear or see you again!!!!

    July 5, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. jt

    This is Rove setting the bar really low so Palin doesn't come off as a complete buffoon when she goes out in public. Problem is – the bar won't adjust to the level of 'low' that would make that possible.

    July 5, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. Neal

    Has anyone noticed the absurdity of not wanting to be a lame duck and resigning as a result?
    First, my understanding of being a lame duck is that this is the period between the election(s) in November and when the next holder takes office when the previous holder has lost an election.
    Second, by Palin's logic anyone who is in a position where there are term limits is a lame duck the second they get elected for their last term.
    Does that mean they are then wasting the voters time for the entire period of their last term?

    July 5, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. Bev

    I do not see any "slam" here. CNN LOVES to throw that word around when it's talking about conservatives. I have seen Karl Rove talk about this several times and have not seen him "slam" Sarah Palin in any way. Are you sure you remember what it means or do you just like to make sure you have negative headlines out there for the people skimming through to see...ahhh Journalism 101.

    July 5, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. Pragmatic

    Quitters don't win and winners don't quit. The "lame duck" part of her rambling speech was just lame. She's bored with being governor of Alaska, quits with 18 months to go with no concern about the people of Alaska who elected her.

    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.

    July 5, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Sherry

    Palin knows exactly what she is doing. She resigns without giving clear reasons and she blames the mainstream media for ALL of her problems. It is my belief that she is trying to gain sympathy from the Republican conservative base, as the "poor Sarah, everyone picks on me." The less she says at her announcement of her resigning, the more the media and the two parties want to find the answers, therefore keeping her in the news for a very long time AND playing right into her hands. She is a hawk and would only do something like this if she had something to gain by it. Mark my words, nothing with Palin done without a personal agenda.

    July 5, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. RB in FL

    ". . . risky strategy." First of all, you have to have a brain to make any type of "strategy." Palin has no brain, no strategy, and is a political "risk," if not an accident waiting to happen for the Republican party. RNC Committee, STOP FEEDING THIS MONSTER!

    July 5, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Anthony McMahon

    Huckabee has it right: It won't be Democrats who define Palin it will be Republicans. During the primaries they will likely tear into her so sufficiently there will be nothing left for a Democratic candidate to attack-she won't even be around. I think the Vanity Fair article looks more and more likely to be an accurate picture of her than not. This is not someone who is capable of governing.

    July 5, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. Pat M

    Not that fools will understand wisdom... Liberals and Media have been tough on her & if she is running for President, this allows someone else to focus on Alaska. As far as her taking family with her, I guess if Obama can take his two daughters to Europe and the Clinton's take their daughter to Australia or a battle zone (hah), guess it isn't so bad that she takes her family occasionally. In all honesty, no family, including the "Chosen one" should take their family anywhere, since we are paying for the expense. I've have never seen so much hate by people. When we are in further debt due to liberals spending like crazy and China stops buying our debt up, guess it really won't matter who is President because it is meaningless.

    July 5, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Operation Crush Rush

    He knows she could get his job at the Fake News Network and ruin his ratings in a heartbeat.He should be in prison and as long as he and Bin Laden are free I will never vote for Obama or a republican.Both have failed.

    July 5, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. Stephanie

    What exactly has Palin accomplished? Announcing a pipeline agreement with business is the easy part for example. The negotiations with the Canadian gov't and people is quite another!! If the news media is truly going to cover her contentions, then we should expect to see what state she has really left Alaska in.

    Should all Governors quit with 1.5 years left? She has insulted Governors who are working hard whether Democrat or Republican who are working hard to try to lead their state in horrible economic times.

    She makes broad unsubstantiated comments with no details and uses the media's questions about her vagueness to blame them. It will be interesting if the media is cowed into treating her with kid gloves!

    July 5, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. once upon a horse

    well Karl Rove is certainly entitled to his own opinion but we all know it's really how RUSH feels about this on which way the Republican party goes with it.

    also @ Bev...
    I have to agree with you on the use of the word "slam" here, it's kind of like the same way when the GOP says something about President Obama and use "bash", "slam" things like that! Just did enough to get your attention.

    July 5, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. SF Serg

    Karl Rove is right. What does Limbaugh think? I am sure that being President of the United States carries a lot more pressure than being Governor of Alaska. If this woman cannot even handle Alaska politics, why is she even being considered as a Presidential candidate in 2012? I hope the GOP in 2012 puts their country first (and their party) by nominating a real candidate to give President Obama a real challenge. I hope that Palin gets the GOP 2012 so that Obama doesn't have to worry about getting re-elected and he can continue to focus on the important issues. OBAMA/BIDEN '12!!!!!

    July 5, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. stkyrce

    If you can't that the heat, get out the kitchen! What makes her think the criticism and scrutiny will be any better as POTUS (god please forbid that from ever happening)? If Hillary was running against Palin, who would you vote for??

    July 5, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. floydfix69

    glad my wife has common sense because this women is nonsense. how people like this get in power wake up america.

    July 5, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Andy

    What I think is fascinating here is the right wing reaction. Palin is so popular with them, and frankly she's the closest thing to exciting the republicans have left, that they will say anything to support her, even refering to this narcisistic, self serving move as a brilliant strategy. Never mind that it was they who made so much hay over cut and run that now the comparisons are inevitable. Carl Rove knows disaster when he sees it, even if he isn't quite willng to say it.

    July 5, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Lisa

    Puhlese! This narcissist will blame her problems on everybody but herself. She's the one who's a joke, who can't speak coherently and doesn't have a clue about the real world. She thinks the media has been unfair to her? HA! Every single time she opens her mouth, the media doesn't have to do a single thing to show what an idiot this woman is. She does it herself and does the media's work for her.

    Alaska and America will be much better off if she were out of politics altogether and out of the public eye. She's an embarrassment not only to any politician but to women in general. She gives the rest of us a bad name.

    July 5, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. NVa Native

    This weird Palin strategy is right out of the Rove\Repub play book. Distractions and deceptions while claiming to be some kind of a patriotic victim. Both of them are weak in integrity, honesty, and the comprehension of reality. The Repubs need new blood without all the radical baggage and distorted views of this ilk.

    July 5, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Dinah

    The majority of us knew she wasn't Presidental material anyway. She is a joke.

    July 5, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Jan Illinois

    Rove the architect of dung! Who cares what he thinks about. We want to learn from successful people, move on from the junk of the earth, it must be a slow news day!!!

    July 5, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. JP

    I have been a republician all my life and feel that the social conservatives are destroying the party. Palin is the single biggest reason why McCain lost.

    July 5, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. Chuck

    Who the hell cares what Rove has to say today, tomorrow and thereafter.

    July 5, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. A republican

    I know you guys can't control this nut case....but someone needs to step up to the plate and tell her that she is damage goods.

    She will always play the blame card and sexism card but it's time that someone stop her of dividing our party. She is divisivie and very, very nutty. Fame really did a number on her!

    July 5, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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