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. Stadtbear

    Surely it is time for this idiotic, emotionally unstable woman to crawl back where she belongs: under Todd.

    July 5, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Joe the Dumber

    Palin's a loose canon and Rove will be miffed an GOP candidates don't act like obedient Alpha Dogs who will be under his so-called skills as a "political strategist". The Gobs of Pinheads (GOP) would be better off if they eloped and moved to Iceland.

    July 5, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. clark

    Thin skinned and not fit to lead a small-population state much less the nation. Buh-bye.

    July 5, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. Marc

    Is no one focussing on the obvious fact this woman *quit* the job in the middle of her electoral mandate? No one knows if she'll run for president, but who in their right mind would elect a quitter?

    "Oh, it's no fun being a lame duck president, I'll just quit now."

    July 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. L.G. Blanchard

    "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Good job, Sarah. Fit for the presidency? I don't think so.

    July 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Steve in NYC

    Who cares what he thinks? Go Sarah!!!!

    July 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Chuck

    How can a nice, former Catholic young woman, like Sarah Palin, grow up to be such a disappointing enigma? She has a whimsical personality and her behavior has been erratic and unpredictable, to say the least. Without doubt, Sarah Palin should never be considered as a leader, much less, nominated and elected President of the United State of America. But again, leave to the Republicans and the American electorate to prove me wrong. Just have to look at the last eight years......

    July 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Joe MN

    She has always been lame .... so where's the news? She couldn't hop from Governeror right to Executive in one term so she quits? That would really encourage me to put her in high office. Probably best anyway. I wonder if she's going to campaign on her vast "experience" as a 1/2 term governer?

    Palin ... just go away already. We don't take you serious, and the joke just isn't funny anymore ... it's sad.

    July 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. MN gal

    Sarah Palin needs to have her head examined. The problem is we all know what they would find. NOTHING! I'm still convinced that you don't news dump on the Friday before a Holiday weekend unless you're hiding something. The extreme righties in this country forget that the moderates don't like or respect quitters and we on the left will fight even harder to keep that wack-a-doodle out of Washington.

    July 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Tony B

    Flake- watch the news for a Palin scandal most likely with the first dude in the middle. Higher calling my eye.

    July 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. erin

    Was the comment from "crazy palin" an attempt at a joke? The commenter points out that his or her eight year old could have constructed a better speech than Palin did, with proper grammar and word usage, but the short comment contains at least six major spelling/word usage errors. I can only hope that the eight year old has a better grasp on English than his parent does.

    July 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Carlos

    If visitors from outer space came to measure the human capacity for HATE, all they would have to do is read the comments in this column. Comments posted by paid "democrats" who hunt the web for opportunities to earn their fees. Their comments invariably arouse a human "feeding frenzy" (present in both democrats and republicans) that the most unfortunate of us can not control.
    P.S.: I am an agnostic hence I do not support Palin.

    July 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Susan

    I AGREE WITH JP – No one but Sarah Palin has destroyed anything but her....she IS the reason John McCain lost!

    Everyone was excited to see a new face when he announced her, but when you started to peel back the layers of the onion skin....you got an onion! She's nasty, and bitter. She's judgemental and self righteous! It's these so called conservative's that are screwing up their own party! I gave up on being a republican! I try to find the best leaders to elect....these days that job is getting much harder!

    July 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. kristin

    Sarah, you lost the election, honey. Please stop throwing yourself out there every chance you get, even if it means exploiting your children.

    July 5, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. CvilleGal

    Don't be fooled by her seemingly mindless incoherence, that gal has an agenda, you betcha. She's up to something and has it all mapped out, in her own unique, Palinesque, disorganized kind of way. Sadly, I fear, we shall never be free of her. Sigh.

    July 5, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. People's Voice

    So, did her "Higher Calling" come in the form of speaking in tounges? This woman, and any others who believe God speaks to them, are not only nuts, but dangerous.

    She resigned from her position, but has not resigned from the public eye. We will be plagued with her for a long time. Thank you a lot John McCain, you idiot.

    July 5, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. kevincollins

    What a hypocrite griping about media coverage of her family when she's the one who unconscionably thrust her pregnant teenage daughter into the spotlight for her own political gain. She gripes about the mainstream media when she's gotten quite a break from them in their refusal to spotlight her nominating a guy for the Alaska attorney general position named Wayne Anthony Ross, a sexist who has these two quotes to his person, "If a guy can't rape his wife, who's he gonna rape?" and "There wouldn’t be an issue with domestic violence if women would learn to keep their mouths shut.” Beautiful, huh?

    July 5, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Champly

    With great risk comes great gain. Sarah Palin will oust Obama in 2012. Obama will attempt a Chavez/Obama style coup but it will fail. He, Michelle and family will be forced into exile in some place friendly to him, such as Havana or Harari. Mark your calendar Obamots, November 2012 will be the end of our long national nightmare that began in November 2008.

    July 5, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. mike

    I am happy to see her go. She lost the race for the Republicans. Mccain didnt help his cause by selecting her. Sarah Palin needs to stay in Alaska and be a home-maker and not a politician.
    Sarah Palin's supporters cant see any wrong in her and that is scary.
    I have been a Republican for my entire life and voted Democrat due to her being on the R- side of the ticket.

    July 5, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. Justin

    Even Karl Rove thinks she's a moron!

    July 5, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Teresa in the south

    It amazes me to watch the pundits claim to be "perplexed " by Sarah Palin's decision to resign. Did they not see and hear what I did? As a democrat who recently resigned from my party, I clearly understood what Sarah had to say. What I heard was that she no longer wanted to put her great State thru the expense and distraction of the relentless attacks and investigation initiated by liberal foes. She simply is stepping down for the people of Alaska. I am ashamed of the way the democratic party has acted in the past 2 years and I personally will no longer have any part of it. I may be liberal but Obama's interpretation of liberal makes me look conservative, therefore I choose to support a different party. I will also support Sarah Palin every inch of the way. She has a right to her opinions as do I and we may differ in many ways but the way I see it....she has bigger balls than any politician in office and she clearly puts country first! The resignation from office proves that and I think it is time for all of you liberal pundits to lay off Sarah Palin. If Sarah decides to run in 2012, under any party, she will get my vote!

    July 5, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Elsa

    I find her highly entertaining and listening to her is a terrific self-esteem boost.

    July 5, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Debbie

    Sarah Palin's inability to state anything clearly will continue to handicap her and only draw those neoconservative audiences that already love her. After listening to her nervously ramble on at her press conference I can't imagine her capable of handling the job of President. I'm sure many Republicans can't feel very confident in her role as anything other than a Fundraiser and motivational speaker. She proved that she doesn't stick it out to the end, caves in to pressure, whines about the mean old media (Hillary was taken it long before Sarah Palin and she's still going strong), and will bail on the people if something else sounds better aka a "higher calling". I suppose God talked her into this.

    July 5, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Champly

    Polls shows great support for Sarah. So why is CNN getting 90% anti-Sarah postings ? Either it isn't getting that many and is manipulating or CNN attracts radicals, Marxists and Obamots.

    July 5, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Stevie

    Ah C'mon, leave Sara be. As long as the magnets for the GOP are Sara, Rush and Dick, Dems will rule. The narrow minded, self righteous "Core" will continue to further shrink and isolate what was once a noble political party. Please let Sara run! Let Karl be her architect and Rush her campaign manager. Dick can do publicity.

    July 5, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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