July 5th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
9 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. M Paul

    Karl ROVE why HIM? Tell him to SHUT UP! The reason why they don't like Palin is because they couldn't SLEEP with HER. Bunch of HYPOCRITES. They are ready to storm her. They were the ones leaking information about her and her family because they didn't like her or because they like SLEEPING with women around the Globe... NO RESPECT FOR WOMEN at all!

    July 5, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Chuck

    The only reason Sarah Palin was picked as McCain's running mate (not so sure it was McCain's idea or his choice) was an attempt to get Hillary's 18 million primary votes from Hillary's disenchanted supporters. What a misguided decision that was. And, of course, the Republican strategists only waited until Obama had made his choice of running mate.

    July 5, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. Rob P.

    Champly July 5th, 2009 11:57 am ET

    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.

    Great support from Sarah from whom? Those must be very selective stops to ask people what they think of her. More than likely all of their TV's have a 'Fake News Channel Only' option.

    The people who post here are used to knowing a little more about the issues. Describing us as you did only reinforces the concept of the 'shrinking tent' theory of current right-wing extremists, where anyone who disagrees is labelled as unpatriotic, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    As far as Obamabots are concerned, he hasn't found a pet war to lie to the country about (with direct costs now approaching $700B, and long term health costs for thousands of wounded vets), so it seems that on balance, he is trying to do a good job.

    On the other hand, he doesn't have a 'ranch' (Bush's ranch is not a working ranch, and as such, is just a tourist attraction) in Crawford to retreat to every time the conversation gets too serious.

    July 5, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. JK

    She's a pathetic person and politician, she should stay with her family because it has tons of problems there, I think that should the higher calling. No matter if you're a man or a woman, if you can resolve you're family problems its sure that they won't resolve the country problems.

    Hopefully we won't heard from her blatant ignorance anymore, but I doubt it...

    July 5, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Jeff

    I dont like Palin as a Politician. But people are disillusion to think she would stay Gov. when she gets a 2 million dolla book deal..and can do speaking engagements for 10-25k a pop.

    Smart move.

    July 5, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. C M

    Anyone who thinks being mayor of like 500 people and then serving half of a governor's term qualifies you for president, is as dumb as Sarah Palin.

    July 5, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. graphx

    Sarah Palin did not cost him the election. First, he chose her. Also there was the economy and an unpopular war.

    Also why should we believe anybody on this board, or any board, who purports to be anything, like a lifelong dem or rep. so they can say something totally contrary, is this to inoculate yourself from criticism or give you some kind of super credibility. For all we know you are typing away in Russia.

    July 5, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Champly

    Wonder what Barry Obama's spirtual advisor, the most Reverend Wright, says about all of this ? Maybe CNN could interview him.

    July 5, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. buckeyenutlover

    hopefully it's true that palin realizes her 15 minutes of fame have expired, but somehow i doubt it. this egomaniac loves the spotlight and seems hell-bent on shoving her worthless opinions down our throats. she needs to shut her trap and take care of her special-needs baby. her political life is toast.

    July 5, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. edgar

    There is a segment in the United States that wants to blame everyone "else" aka democrats, minorities, etc. for not understanding their selfishness. Ms. Palin is an excellent example of the spoiled "I am perfect, I do no wrong, I will save the world" mentality that exists in our country. Many people follow this creed and she will exploit this to her advantage. When things do not go her way....it will be whine whine all the way.

    July 5, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. tarheel

    The sad thing is that even though Sarah Palin may not be the best person to be President, she would still be a huge improvement over the joke we have now as President. He is determined to spend us into oblivion. I don't know what Palin's stategy is but I hope it includes getting this extremely destructive person out of office before he bankrupts our country.

    July 5, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. ed

    Palin would never get my vote - she says she knows "tough" but hasn't shown me a thing about deserving to be in the White House. I don't see how she can spin this one into a "moral" or "philosophical" platform to defeat her Republican challengers (and there will be a few) or Obama in 2012. And how is quitting 18 months before your governorship considered a bona fide strategy to "prepare"? Wasn't she the one quipping that executive experience (preparation) was the whole reason people should vote for her? Ouch.

    July 5, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Imarriedmy sister in TheOleSouth

    Sarahs got her flack jacket on,she must be expecting some fresh dirt dugup on her.Hi TCM,nice to see you out using your forty names and spewing your rightwing, Limbaugh, hatefilled talking points.

    July 5, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. Bill

    Hey GE, the word is "buffoon". Perhaps some English lessons would help. I agree w your sentiment though...

    July 5, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Chris W

    Sara Palin = pathological liar.
    In the clinical sense of the word. For real. I tried to watch her announcement and I couldn't even make out a coherent sentence to even attempt to understand. & has her "family" been making all the decisions right along about her governership, isn't that a huge source of these ethics enquiries?
    She claims to be reacting to the media and conspiracies of the left in the role prescribed to her by her family, where's an actual person WHO'S SUPPOSED TO BE SETING THEMSELVES AS A LEADER exist in the middle of that equation.?!?
    It looks like this is almost as good as Reganomics in it's absurd appeal to dullards.
    ..Or could it be about the money...(you know, book tour, speaking engagement, presidential campaign fundraising..)

    July 5, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. Mark in Omaha

    Rove and Palin, frightening. Evil meets spiteful and vindictive.

    July 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. TexasDem

    a 2012 Presidential run??? who wants a President of the United States of America that can't handle the pressures of being a Governor?! Certainly not me!! ...the spotlight is bigger and the pressure is greater... I'd sooner throw my vote to Tina Fey!!!

    July 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. Gene

    Wait... Karl Rove thinks this was a stupid move by Palin?... which only re-enforces my belief that it's the best thing she could have done 🙂

    July 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Champly

    Obama has to be scared pelosiless at this point. He has destroyed the economy in an orgasm of Marxist perfidy, and has no way to rebuild. After the 2010 elections he probably will be impeached and removed from office for his various crimes including graft (a la Chicago mansion), interfering with justice (firing of IGs) and quite possibly treason.

    July 5, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Merle

    Thats not "slamming" comments...CNN, up to your LIBERAL stuff again i see...FOXNEWS-FAIR AND BALANCED.

    July 5, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Tim


    I hope and pray that Palin DOES run for president in 2012. If she were to capture the Repub nomination, that would be an easy win for an Obama reelection. Palin is far Far FAR too self-absorbed to see that she appeals only to a narrow sliver of radical religious zealots and unintelligent single-issue voters. She doesn't get that an overwhelming majority of Americans see right through her typical (but out-dated) Republican political strategy of appealing to "the base". Bush/Rove milked that cow for all it was worth and now that cow has gone to pasture; but Palin is too self-centered and flat out dumb to see it. Was she paying attention last November? Clearly not. I hope that she stays in the media spotlight that she is so clearly addicted to and gets the Repub nomination for president. That should pretty much take care of driving the last nail in the Repub party's coffin and open the door for a much-needed third party.

    In Sarah Palin's world, her woes are always someone else's fault. Always. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find any instance where she took responsibility for her own shortcomings. She loves the media attention but also loves to play the victim when that attention goes wrong.


    July 5, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Carl

    Does this woman ever take responsibilitiy for her actions? Now its the media's fault for dinging her after her rambling concession speech. She cant handle some media bloggers and she thinks she has the stones to run for president? She is the one who plastered her daughters face on the cover of People and made her a spokesperson for "Abstinence". If you want the media to leave your family alone try not trotting them out as props. I am an independent voter and gave her and Mc Cain the benefit of the doubt. But Palin is bordering on 'unhinged'. If the GOP lets this circus continue, they are going to lose what little credibility they have left.

    July 5, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. markatl

    Rove and Palin in the same sentence is one scary thing. this country is still suffering from the architect's last project, that looked awfully similar to Palin. I just hope the architect never again creates a monster project that will become our president.

    July 5, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. Jd

    A True Leader don't quit when things get tough.

    Here is one of my favorite quote :“Winners never quit and quitters never win"

    The fact that she's a quitter and abandoning those people who elected her said a great deals that she could not handle stress and pressure of the job.
    I wish her all the best of luck in whatever she wanted to do. I personally think that she should go back to journalism and be a strong voice for conservative base. (just my two cents)

    July 5, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Tammy

    Intellectually, the woman is not leadership material. Her resignation speach contained many catchwords, but they were not used in context and were just strung together in phrases to make it sound like she was saying something important. My teenage nieces can put together more coherent sentences. Incoherent, lacking in intellectual ability, just not someone to be a leader of our country!

    July 5, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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