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. daniel

    Has anyone found Champy's brain yet? It seems to be missing.

    July 5, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Penny

    Let's focus on Sarah Palin for a moment...

    She's attractive. She's not afraid of public speaking. She's raised five kids (no mean achievement.)
    That said-WHAT in the world qualifies this woman to lead the world or a state?

    Her ideas are medieval. She's become the Paris Hilton of politics-famous for being famous. She's divisive, whining and lacks focus.

    Sheesh..she's a late night comedy dream.

    July 5, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. tortortor

    I have a problem, I can't stop reading about ms palin even though I think it is best to ignore her, news agencies measure clicks, and stories that get a lot (like palins, just look at all these comments) lead to similar ones in the future (more about palin). so I contibute to publicity for her. the reason for this is probably, that I am afraid of he, and very much so. as much as I would like to say she doesn't stand a chance, I fear that her ways appeal to many people. this move seems to work out for her up to now, she's back in spotlight after a while of absence on cnn.com, and my intention of boycotting news about her failed again.
    I can understand that she gets a lot of sympathy for her unconventional ways, her "one of us" style, and non-elitist manner of speaking, now she also gets some "never give up" points (I think she really won't, and assume here that the "higher calling" is the presidency).
    Ijust want to throw one question in here, for the presidency would you prefer someone that you can relate to and feel she/he is thinks in similar ways you do as well as would act similar in similar situations, or would you prefer someone seemingly better educated than you are, who does not loose his head in situations that might be to complicated for yourself at the same time coming across somewhat arrogant/ or elitist at times? would you allow somone superior in capabilities to lead you or would you rather have someone like yourself to lead? I see that someone superior is risky as she/he might be able to trick u, but given that you don't consider yourself the smartest or most capable of a group, is it not just as risky to leading yourself?
    If I am to follow someone, I want her/him to be superior to me, but that's just my personal view.
    disclosure: I am german so I should probably not meddle in US affairs, but they matter, worldwide.

    cheers and flame me if u like

    July 5, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Techmule

    Palin is making the same mistake Perot did years ago when he quit the presidential run because of threats to ruin his daughters wedding. If you cut and run when things get hot, you will always be a victim. Successful politicians must be able to take the heat no matter how close to home it hits and stand their ground. Palin should stay in office and Sanford should resign. These Republican governors live in an upside-down world.

    July 5, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Elizabeth

    She asked the citizens of Alaska for a four-year term as their Governor. When an elected official unexpectedly resigns little more than halfway through their term the citizens of their city, county, state or nation are owed a concise, coherent, cohesive explanation. The citizens deserve nothing less than "I'm leaving office early because I intend to do . . .". We don't know if she intends to begin a Presidential cmpaign for 2012 now, if she intends to become a television commentator/personality, if she intends to become the Wasilla dogcatcher or if she simply intends to disappear from public view. She frustrated the McCain campaign because she didn't know how to speak directly and stay on message. Well, she still can't – and at the very least the people of Alaska (never mind the rest of us!) deserve better!

    July 5, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Gerry

    When Sarah Palin resigned as governor of Alaska she entered the Twilight Zone of American politics. This is really kinda creepy. What motivates any red blooded American politician with a job that is as media available as a governor of a state to resign is usually some nasty piece of business that is about to drop out of the sky. Mark Sanford’s trips to Argentina and his eventual admission of multiple extra marital affairs comes to mind. There is something we do not known about this announcement and it surely must be a real stinker. As Mr. Olbermann has said, ‘This circus hasn’t left town yet.”

    July 5, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. B.H.

    Why would anyone be surprised by her actions? It is consistent with everything she has done before INCONSISENT !

    Can you just imagine that person and McCain in charge of this country right now?

    July 5, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. Dom

    Republicans: Sarah Palin = George Wallace 2.0 What if announcing this on "Independence Day Weekend" was symbolic? I dont see this opinion in the news. What if after attempting to take over your party and re-brand with her own style of limited government theocratic policy platform, she starts a movement of her own as a 3rd party candidate fracturing your base and giving Obama a near 100 percent electoral win.
    Got 'Wallace 2.0' Republicans? She probably could probably halve the Republican base.

    July 5, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Harry

    I don't know what's more stupid, Palin proving that she's a quitter and then trying to run for President, or Rove slamming a prominent GOP figure, thereby further alienating, splitting and confusing the Republican Party.

    They are imploding!

    July 5, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. andy

    I like most people I've met from Idaho, Sarah proves that there are exceptions

    July 5, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. John in VA

    Pretty sad when even Karl Rove can't get you elected. He could get a ham sandwich elected by pandering to the far right with fear-mongering. Ironically, that ham sandwich is the Republican Party's best bet in 2012.

    July 5, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. tg

    This woman is so funny. She can't handle the governorship when she faces tough legislature and media and she gives a reason "higher call" for her resignation, quitter. she really eye the white house ha. lol God save us from this woman.

    July 5, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. jenny

    thank-you stephen for your comment july 5th you are absolutely right couldn't have said it better no, she will never ever be president thank-god the only thing to add i guess is that hopefully her resignation will give her more time to did a small hole and jump in it

    July 5, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. obama sucks

    Johhny said It's not a machine. It's plenty of good people with good sense. No we do not fear Sarah Palin. Yes we do hate Sarah Palin. Because she stands against all that could be good in this country. Neighbor helping neighbor. Children being educated. She lies, she manipulates and she craves attention like no other. Any good definition of evil includes the attempt to confuse and confound. If you need proof of her evil, just listen to one more in a long line of incoherent speeches. She is less than dirt.

    So you admit that its a hate machine

    July 5, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. no mo Palin

    This lady reminds me of Elaine Marie Benes of the Jerry Seinfeld comedy show .......Palin has no brain, no strategy, and is a political "risk

    July 5, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. mikey

    I don't care for her much. BUT just maybe she just wants out. She went from relative obscurity to 100% spotlight almost overnight and just maybe she doesn't like the consequences.

    July 5, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. REG in AZ

    There are those extremely wealthy and powerful few who deceptively advocate an ultra-conservative philosophy when what they really want is the placating and patronizing of their excessive financial aspirations. They are those that see another George W Bush in Sarah Palin, someone they can count on when simply satisfying her ego, self-interests and ambition, someone with the same self-focused, arrogant, bold, unconscionable and aggressive sociopathic personality who will again unhesitatingly provide them with more of the same. She has already demonstrated that she has no conscience and will do/say whatever she feels will benefit her and those same rewards, the power and prestige of the presidency and the financial return, especially the promised after-office kickbacks, that kept GWBush totally focused are more than enough to work for her. She is ideal for them but just another real catastrophe for America and the rest of the world.

    July 5, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Kim inNC

    The comments on this board are very interesting – a great cross section of American opinion! I think that people on the right are finding out how much fun it is to be in the minority – blame everything on the party in power! But, really, it's a bit much to hear y'all talking about the "Obama Depression." For heaven's sake, the man has only been in office for seven months! This economic debacle has been a long, long time in coming. Both Clinton and Bush policies bear a share of the blame.

    Palin is a whiner. It is galling to hear her compared to Reagan, who was mocked by left-wing Hollywood as a lightweight doofus, but you never heard him cry about it! Give me a break, lady.

    July 5, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. James, Brooklyn NY

    The Republican village has lost another idiot. We need to round them all up lock them down. They could become a menace to society.

    July 5, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. mo nada

    ugh – disgusting people both of them, they represent the worst of us

    July 5, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. George

    You betcha! (wink, wink). I'm goin' shoppin', then I'm goin' huntin', then I',m goin fishin' with the "First Dude" of Alaska. Then I'm gonna go to see my unwed daughter mother. Then I'm gonna renew my NRA membership. Then I'm gonna skin a moose. Then I'm gonna see if I can get my ex brother in law fired. Then I';m gonna go watch the Russian coast for awhile. By golly, there is so much I'm gonna do. I can hardly wait!

    July 5, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Champly

    Dear Brian McDougal – I am not a Republican, I am an American. And unlike most Obamots, I work for a living and take care of myself. I have been months behind in house payments, ate oatmeal twice a day, and generally sat around my house for weeks because I had no money to go anywhere. BUT I DIDN'T BEG the Obamots to take care of me. I want my freedom. I take responsibility for my own life. Obamots want someone else to take care of them. They are willing go give up all of their freedoms.

    July 5, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. RS in STL

    chris3dog July 5th, 2009 12:40 pm ET

    RS in STL, With such a star studded lineup, how could you possibly think anything might go wrong? Dick Cheney isn't coming back!

    They have already proved my point!.

    BTW, Dick Cheney had more competence and qualifications in his little finger than this group of impotents combined!

    July 5, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. kate

    I always love to see any mention of Palin because she gets more reaction both positive and negative than any other politician.
    It really does rival Bush derangement syndrome

    You liberals must be reeling with uncertainty not knowing what this
    successful governor is going to do next.
    It's so much fun watching the media elite trying their best to get a handle on this like they have any clue what it means to sacrifice for their country.
    Calling her names and speculating on her sanity.
    Like they would ever get their wide arses up from behind a monitor and actually do something for their country!

    I say Rove is an ego maniacal control freak and it must really bother him not to understand a strategy that doesn't involve lies and absolute control, that a candidate has control over their future and not their "handlers" Pity

    July 5, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. EcoAZ

    If you people are to have a leg to stand on, we need to see Barry's daughters mocked and maligned on a daily basis in the media. Let's see comedians accuse Obama's kids of getting knocked up by randy football players. Let's see Michelle holding her youngest photoshopped with an insulting mask over her face.

    Barry and Sarah are both (allegedly) U.S. citizens. Let's see you people give the Obama family the same treatment you've just given the Palin family. Then watch Michelle.

    July 5, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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