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. Karen

    That was the stupidest argument I've ever heard – I'm quitting so I won't sit around and do nothing! Give me a break.

    July 5, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. alana s

    Her quitting speech was bizarre in a major way. Very abrasive and angry. I agree she is trying to appeal to the fringe extreme right. The energy she is trying to drum up is negative anger in the very group that is driving away more moderate Republicans in throngs.

    Palin lacks every thing that a good leader needs. All she has is a whiny loud voice, anger at most of America, and policies of exclusion.

    July 5, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. sharon

    who cares, she has let down the people she swore to serve, would she have this as VP.
    continue hunting.

    July 5, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. joe

    You'd think America would have already learned the horrible consequences of voting an idiot into office...but maybe we have to suffer more? The election of Palin is the election of a mindless stooge to be controlled by every greedy, power-mad right wing lunatic that can get their foot in the door.

    July 5, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. sam

    Now, Sarah Heathe can go back to that infamous clip of her saying she cant stand Hillary because she was complaing about the media treatment...Pot meet kettle. Hillary withstood her ground and now look where she is. I would be proud to have Hillary be Pres or even Vice Pres (no offense Joe)

    July 5, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. Gracie, MD

    This is one seriously DEMENTED woman. Who gives a press conference and then BLAMES the media for her own train wreck? During her announcement she proved to be unstable, confused and totally incoherent with her basketball analogy. I was thinking WHAT the hell is this woman doing and more importantly, what the hell is she talking about?

    It's funny that even her personal manager was NO WHERE to be found. She was in New York while Palin was making a fool of herself on national TV. Where were ALL her staff, her political handlers? These folks should be FIRED PRONTO!!

    Now her attorneys are threatening the media for "defamation". Are you serious Governor Palin? If anyone is DEFAMING you, it's YOURSELF. You have done nothing but AIR your dirty laundry since day one. It was YOU who paraded your pregnant teenage daughter AND make an announcement that she would be marrying Levi Jones, NOT the media. It was YOU and First DUDE who paraded your new grand-baby in front of the media networks when it was POLITICALLY CONVENIENT and LUCRATIVE to do so.

    It was YOU Governor Palin, who faced repeated ETHICS CHARGES as Governor of Alaska, NOT the media. It was YOU Governor Palin who clearly attempted to LIE about your husband's SEVEN YEAR membership with a SUCCESSION PARTY. It was YOU Governor Palin who AIR your dirty laundry every second of every day.

    It was YOU Sarah Palin who is abandoning her own STATE for your own political agenda. This is NOT about what's best for Alaska, Alaska has made their voices clear that they DO NOT support your policies any more. As a first time Governor, you have NOT served your state honorably. YOU were merely a "part-time" Governor who was NEVER fully engaged in the priorities of her own state.

    SO please don't insult the American people's intelligence with all your 'HILLYBILLY TRASH" theatrics. Americans are NOT stuck on STUPID.

    July 5, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Doc Mitchell, TX

    Maybe she will start the First Mega Church in Alaska.: The First Baptist, Presbtyrian and Trinity Lutheran Apostolic of the Redeemer and the Most High Anointed Church of God. I believe this 'higher callin' involves preachin' the good news, speaking in tongues, and snake charmin' on Sundays after huntin' wolves and caribou on Saturday.

    July 5, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. crazy palin

    she is a lame duck, her speach was one my 8 year old son could of made much better, with the right grammer and wording too. she also insulted all the other governors in the us. she makes the republicans look very bad, and they do not need any help, they been doing that pretty good on there own. Ensign, Sanford etc.

    July 5, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Joe

    There's really no mystery Karl. She's a silly twit. Now, go away and take her with you.

    July 5, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. MBW

    Why make Sarah Palin's resignation more than what it is. She has finally "got it". For months, she has been badgered to "go away" by perhaps 70% of the population. Only the neo-cons are still enamored with this harlequin. She has become a poster girl for everything that is wrong with the Republican Party. She is like a mirror for intelligent Republicans. They look into it and don't like what they see. Nothing is going to change. Give her credit for realizing that.

    July 5, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Maggie

    Classic Palin move. Blame your situation on anything but your judgement. Too hot in the kitchen? Move to the porch. Won't put Alaskan's thru another 18 months? Hope she has such sympathy towards the rest of us. Too bad she wasn't so worried about her fellow Alaskans when she took her Palin show on the road during the Presidential election. I say keep it up Palin, and if we're lucky, you'll fade away, sparring the country from your endless whining and pity party.

    July 5, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. JC

    I really do not like this guy, but parties aside, I have to agree with him. If its presidency she is looking for, this was a big mistake. There will be countless of political ads from people going against her in the primary and election regarding this and if she doesnt say anything now, she wont be able to say anything then.

    July 5, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. Mj

    Palin would make a fine Republican nominee for president. Her record includes raising taxes on corporations, seizing oil company profits and redistributing oil company wealth to Alaska's citizens, expanding the Alaskan government by creating a climate change task force, and taking in Billions of dollars in earmarks from the federal government.

    July 5, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Stop Feeding the Monster - I agree

    She is a loose cannon and I agree – Please stop feeding this monster! She is dangerous.... I think if she calls or her handlers call and say something about her – the media, people mag, bloggers need to ignore.... Once you feed a monster it's hard to let go of and it becomes more dangerous and divisive.

    Please ignore her and just maybe she will go away. Let her post on facebook, twitter, and sarapac....but stop feeding her please!

    July 5, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Ben K

    palin has resigned because she wants to make money, forget politics for her. she's not bright but she knows how to make a buck off her name now....my guess, she will have her own talk show- mid-day to challenge oprah and the view-and stay in the spotlight that way. we do know she loves the spotlight, even if it is continuing a feud with a late night talk show host over an obvious joke.

    July 5, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. floydfix69

    i dont dislike her, but she'll make money on book deals, and tv , maybe playboy too,opps there broke too, she too self rightness for me.miss perfect hehe.

    July 5, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. david reyes

    In order for her to run for president she has to talk to people that count. American voters, she has to shake hands have town halls I think when people meet her they will like her she couldnt do this from alaska .all the lib media is in the tank for obama she cant use the media to let america know her ,so she will give speeches she will meet people in diners and talk to them, you have to do the grass roots thing because after all the voters is what counts i hope i get a chance to meet her and work with her on her run ive never did this before but Im sure she can find some way for me to help, even if its passing out bumper stickers.

    July 5, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. harry

    Rove, rove, rove, rove gently down the stream......

    July 5, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Tom in CA

    ...that's because she's a QUITTER!

    ...YOU BETCHA!

    July 5, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. John of Michigan

    Palin needs some time to study elementary and middle -school textbooks. She needs to learn where Africa is. And she has to learn how to spell conservatism (just as Bush II has yet to learn to spell compassion). Even as she and Bush talk about improving education, they have not yet realized they ARE the source of the problem. The dumbing-down of America really starts with these two.

    July 5, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. chris

    platform not paltform

    July 5, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. annie against biased news

    I expect that along with all the demon-crats squirming in their shoes, so are awhole lot of the repubbies. First time mccain has said anything nice about Gov. Palin since he threw the election.

    July 5, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. SKIPALASKA50

    Gov. Sarah Palin’s resignation is a great political move for her & our country. Once they thought about it, the majority of Alaskans are actually proud of Sarah Palin for taking first steps towards 2012. This was an appropriate day (Independence Day eve); for her to take some time with her family, focus on immediate strengthening of state and national objectives; all without having her hands tied by holding political office. If Congress and the Obama Team can announce things like the “Cap & Trade Energy Bill” on a Friday; as they have done many other major sneak through bills; then why can’t our Governor let the local media know her news first and on a Friday? She also wasn’t taking up state time to do it; as she did it on a national holiday and wasn’t at work, so no ethics violation. The mainstream media is going crazy with this, like a pack of dogs chasing their tails. Keep on surprising them Sarah.

    Our nation is finally waking up to the realities of the Nov. 08 election results and now we want our country back. Sarah is not a quitter, but instead a fighter who thinks outside of the box. She is the square peg that won’t be forced into the round hole; a “complex conservative” (coin termed by my spouse) that both political parties and the media can’t figure out; which is what scares them so much. She may be living outside of the continental United States now; but will end up taking the country by storm come 2012 and move to our country’s capitol.

    Gov. Palin gave an excellent speech on Friday (without Speechwriters or Teleprompters); showing intelligence, good eye contact, speaking honestly and directly from her heart straight to the heart of the average American and didn’t require any hand holding (as she writes her own stuff). On the other hand, Obama pays his 28 year old speech writer $175,000.00 (one of the top paid people in Washington) and doesn’t normally do any speeches without a Teleprompter and his personal speechwriter. Think about it. Who is actually the better speaker, based on “their own merit”? Sarah is head of the pack without a doubt.

    The mainstream media needs to report ALL statistics correctly and not falsely quote or intentionally misconstrue facts. The “Mainstream American” is beginning to see through the smoke and will now hold their feet to the fire; which is fixing to get really hot. All ethics charges were filed after her nomination for VP candidate and were pushed by the mainstream media’s attack on her and her family. The 15 false ethics charges (cases she has won) have been dropped. By stepping down, she will prevent millions more of state money spent in her defense and wasted time spent by state employees on defending more charges. Not one of them was proven valid, but continues to cost the Palins thousands from their personal budget.

    Sarah is the opposite of Obama in so many ways; budget conscious, a supporter of capitalism, honest, supports our constitution, ethical, patriotic, believing in and not wanting to control her country and more. This is the opposite of Obama and multiple other governors & senators who have left their gubernatorial or congressional responsibilities gathering dust, continued drawing a paycheck from the government coffers, and traveling while in the process of running for higher political office. She can now spend days or weeks away from the state and will not do this on the public dime. What an unusual political candidate; a real, honest, hard-working, ethical, middle-class person; not wanting to waste her state’s money. WOW.

    July 5, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Mike

    First of all, if she would stop breaking the law, there would be far fewer ethics investigations. Second, if you don't want your family to be media fodder, quit using them as props in your elections. You cant have your cake and eat it too. Its not unfair to scrutinize her pregnant teenager if mom is touting an abstinence-only education platform. Thats relevant. And if she cant teach it in her own house, how can we teach it nationally? Finally, expect in the next few weeks to see a major ethics violation to come out. She's stepping down for something more than what she's saying. I smell a rat.

    July 5, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. Kate in SW Fla

    Look, I am no fool, OK? I don't think she is a flake because I am a Democrat. I think she is a flake because SHE IS! This is a woman who has a very spotty college record, but after 5 years and 4 schools managed to get a journalism degree. However, she can not even put a sentence together. I guess if you are just in the tank for her, you would disaagree. But is you honestly assess her perfomances so far, you would conclude the same thing. It is one thing to be "folksy." But, seriously, winking during a debate? There are several really fine Republican possibilities out there, who will campaign and debate circles around this mediocre upstart. Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman. Any one of these candidates will eat this so-called barracuda for lunch.

    July 5, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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