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. meg martin from Collegeville, PA

    Goodbye to bad news.

    July 5, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Mike b

    She finally got on the bridge to nowhere.

    July 5, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. VegasGurl

    Oh, I forgot to mention, my red candles are finally working...anyone need anything done? 😉

    July 5, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. barking republican ankle biters

    Why dont racists have the guts to take off their hoods and robes?They get on here and beat around the bush about it and use every other excuse they can but we know them when we see their statements.

    July 5, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Stephen

    This woman is nothing but talk, talk, talk, and an absolute joke as any type of credible politician. Will this media seeking moron ever go away? She will, NEVER, EVER be President of the United States.

    July 5, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. George Ennis, Toronto, Canada

    Is it true that Palin has a university degree in journalism? If so, from what university and what were her marks? Judging by her unrehearsed speeches, it is hard to believe she even graduated from high school. She obviously at the very least has a lot of street smarts to get to the point where she is today but she talks as though she is functionally illiterate and her ideas if I can use that word are inchoate.

    It is frightening to think that so many people actually believe this woman is ready to be POTUS. That in itself is a sad reflection on how dangerous it is that so many vote based on single issues.

    July 5, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Jeanne Beans

    Gee, and Karl Rove isn't part of the media. Wonder what Sarah's excuse for him will be? (not that I respect Karl Rove's opinion either)

    A leader doesn't quit, and that's what she's doing, trying to disguise it as anything else.

    Leaving for a higher calling? The only time I've heard that used is in a religious sense, as in God calling her to do something else.

    July 5, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Jon

    Karl doesn't have to insult or use harsh language to "Slam" someone. But I would not expect the Palin supporters to grasp that idea.

    If you have a shred of intelligence you can read between the lines and see he basically called her what she is. An unintelligent flapping head, lacking the mind to think about what her actions will cause before committing to them.

    Then she is blames the media again.. "The media will never understand." Is that because for someone to understand Palin they would have to stop living in the real world and head to the alternate reality she has created in her mind?

    If she wasn't pretty, she would just be another diagnosed schizophrenic living out her illusions of persecution.

    July 5, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Joe DAmico

    I don't think even Karl Rove (a.k.a. The Architect) could manage to get her elected to the Presidency. He got one dope elected, but not even
    he could find a way to place this absolute unqualified whiny drama queen into the White House. I can't imagine how anyone whether
    Republican, Democrat or Independent could honestly believe that she
    should have even been put on the ticket much less vote for her.

    Surely we have millions of smarter persons to fill that position.......

    July 5, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Champly

    Chuck, Chuck, Chuck – The crimes Obama committed happened BEFORE he became POTUS. Your apparent lack of knowledge of them makes you a typical CNN kinda of guy.

    July 5, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. JediMasterMatt - Bethlehem, PA

    To all you NeoCons that continue to slam the Obama Administration and any Democrat in office by throwing such insults as calling everyone you dislike a Socialist or any other name you can think of....

    Just remember we are cleaning up YOUR president's mess from the last 8 years, its not going to be pretty, but we're doing it...and by the way, get your 'circus' of a political party straight before you throw insults...with all the clowns and no ringmaster in the Republican Party, its no wonder why your party left this country in such a mess!

    July 5, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. VegasGurl

    Sad thing is she's still walking away with millions while most are suffering the effects of the disastrous global economy...go figure...so who really wins?

    July 5, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Alex

    Palin will become a dead fish because she is a quitter. I'm amazed of her own words "dead fish, full court press” She obviously has no clue how to run a small state and needs to quit just like the governing rather than humiliate herself and family and the nation with her incompetent views. I suggest a career in basketball and eating lots of dead fish for her memory.

    July 5, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. Carl

    I would bet that Palin's resignation comes because she's just sick of all this and wants to be done with it. The reason people like Rove are criticizing her is because the powers that be (I'm talking the wealthy elite on both sides that control the US) in the neo-conservative sect of the Republican Party know they could get a whole lot of voters on their side because of her. Like her or not, I wish her the best for her and her family, which is just as typical as mine.

    And like it or not, I would not be surprised to see a huge outcry for Congressman Ron Paul to run again in 2012 even at his age. By 2012, many of you will be switching sides if you listen to him talk about economics for about 20 minutes.... maybe less.

    July 5, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. chris3dog

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

    July 5, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. I hand out crying towels for republicans daily

    Sarah doesnt have a strategy,something more is coming out soon.@Champly.Are the South Carolina police looking for you?

    July 5, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Sue

    Palin deserves all the criticism she gets at this point. This is the woman who, without 5 seconds of thought, declared she was absolutely ready to step up and fill the shoes as President if she needed to. If she cannot survive 4 years as governor of a tiny state (population wise) due to her "family and happiness" as someone suggests, then she obviously cannot be qualified for Presidency. I'm all for a person saying "oops this job is hurting me, my family and my state" but take ownership of the choice instead of blaming it on everything under the sun. Politics is a rough business, and when you agree to step onto the national stage, you agree to open yourself up to scrutiny and criticism. Did she deserve as much as she got? I thought so, since I judged her to be shallow, petty, vindictive and narcissistic from the start. Whatever the case, she encourages the attention the media gives her and then complains it isn't what she wants. Is she against freedom of the press then? Her inconsistencies never cease to amaze me. I truly hope she isn't "gone" now, as the Sarah spectacle is much more entertaining than the Michael Jackson coverage... and about as relevant to the Real World.

    July 5, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. johnny

    @ joe blough July 5th, 2009 12:22 pm ET
    "The left-wing hate machine is out in full force today.

    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.

    July 5, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Mr. Brown

    I got it – Sarah loves to feel important. Maybe if we all say she will be President and she is the smartest person on earth with 5 or 6 colleges under her belt to recieve a BA degree than maybe she will stop playing the vicitm of bloggers and media destroying her self absorbed self.

    Go Sarah, Go Sarah – Your fame is worldwide like MJ's...... Girl you are looking very Presidential – LOL (Now can you please go find a broadway show to becase a cast member of b/c you have definitely shown your ability as a showgirl.........

    July 5, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. EcoAZ

    Why don't you people read your own posts? Internet access should be an earned privilege, not a right.

    July 5, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Jeanne Beans

    This is why Alaska likes her–because she says what she feels and does what she wants. In other words, she does what she needs to survive, and doesn't think about others or consequences. I'm sick of her analogies to sports. She played that in high school–give it up! This is life, not sports.

    July 5, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. Annie, Atlanta

    Truth Teller – are you so full of hate that you can do nothing but resort to adolescent name calling? I'm not a scumbag, nor do I think you are. I'm an American, and I love my country, and we need to find common ground in order to make this work. I'd also like to know how a man born to a woman from Kansas could ever be considered an "illegal alien?" She was an American citizen, not an illegal alien.

    July 5, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Laura, WA

    So if (God forbid) Palin became President and then got re-elected, would she then promptly resign because she'd be a "lame duck", and according to her, as a "lame duck" there's no way she could simply go about doing her job for the remainder of her term, but rather she'd be required spend all her time going on frivolous overseas trips?

    July 5, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. Brian MacDougall

    @ Champly: do your GOP overlords pay you by the post?

    July 5, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Mitzie - GA

    I continue to get a kick out of those who think that quitting because the road became difficult is somehow a brave move. For those who continue to believe that Palin is something special, you need to remove your rose colored glasses. She is an attractive woman with no political substance. She hurts the cause of women candidates dramatically.

    Even Karl Rove, who managed very successfully to gather the same type of supporters to Bush, disagrees with this move. I am no fan of Karl Rove but he knew how to rally the Republican base, the same people who seem impressed by Palin.

    July 5, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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