March 10th, 2010
04:26 PM ET
8 years ago

Rove: Tea parties could hurt Republicans

Washington (CNN) - What's on the mind of the man often called "Bush's Brain"? In an interview with CNN Wednesday, Rove wondered if the Tea Party movement will help, or hurt, Republicans. And he said his former ally-turned-critic, onetime White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, is talking "strange."

The former senior adviser to President Bush told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the Tea Party movement is a wide and diverse group, but said he worries the movement might harm the GOP.

"It will hurt the Republican Party if some elements of the Tea Party decide to become third party advocates, because it will split the conservative vote," he said.

Despite that concern, Rove said he believes the vast majority of tea partiers "are trying to figure out, in a decentralized, grassroots way, how they can remain a force, a movement, that holds the feet of elected officials in both parties to the fire."

Meanwhile, Rove was reserved in responding to fresh and stinging criticism from McClellan - Rove's first time doing so.

On MSNBC Tuesday, McClellan said, "Karl Rove is someone who's always had this mentality, that politics is war. And … he believes in winning at all costs. And that means embracing political spin and political manipulation to achieve what your goals are."

McClellan added: "It's kind of like the Japanese soldier. Long after World War II is over, they just, refusing to accept or believe that World War II is ended. How do you reason with someone like that?"

Rove told Blitzer he did not want to respond, but said, "Comparing me to some Japanese soldier stuck in a jungle on some southeast Pacific island is just a little strange."

Asked about his relationship with President Bush, Rove said he speaks with the former president often. "He's deeply involved in his presidential center in Dallas," Rove said. "He's polishing a book that'll be out in November. Life is really good for him."

Rove is currently promoting his new book, "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight," which details his role in the decision to invade Iraq, the CIA leak scandal and other topics.

Watch the full interview at 5 p.m. EST on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Filed under: Karl Rove • Popular Posts • Tea Party movement
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Al

    Most devisive man in politics.

    March 10, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    Is there anyone out there who actually cares what Karl Rove thinks?

    March 10, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Joe

    I disagree! You can't hurt an insensitive, irrational, money-hungry, ego-driven corpse!

    March 10, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. lucy2

    Know what else hurt the Republican Party? Scheming, shady, tunnel vision guys like Rove.

    March 10, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Sally

    Rove, you are an embarrassment for the Republican Party. We know your role in the decision to invade Iraq, and worse,the CIA leak scandal. Writing a book will not rewrite history. Facts are facts. You have taken down the party and you should be prosecuted.

    March 10, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "It will hurt the Republican Party if some elements of the Tea Party decide to become third party advocates, because it will split the conservative vote."

    Then I guess it's up to the Republican Party to adopt some or all of the Tea Party platform. Mostly, that means going back to what the GOP was in the first place and should have been all along: the party of small government and fiscal restraint–and that doesn't mean just saying the words, it means actually doing it.

    The modern Republican Party, the neo-cons, are only slightly less a disaster than the Democrats–most Tea Partiers aren't going to be too disappointed if they split the "conservative" vote, thereby letting a Democrat win. But the GOP can't afford to alienate the Tea Partiers.

    March 10, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. jm for sc

    The Tea party is actually showing America what republicans are all about. It is the new face of the KKK without the sheets.

    We were in debt for years under the Bush Administration, but they showed no concern until President Obama was elected.

    It always hurt to be revieled.

    March 10, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. R

    He has a point. The Tea Party movement is more devisive than anything else and the media will only focus on that and that is great for the Democrats. If I was campaigning as a Democrat that would be my first question to the Repbulican candidate: "Do you support the Tea Party movement?" Then next I would ask "Do you believe that President Obama is a US citizen?" That would get the conversation going.

    March 10, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Independent One

    No one could hurt repubs if they would do there JOB and just stop trying to win the next election

    March 10, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Matt

    I kind of figured that about a year or so after the end of the Bush Administartion we'd start seeing everything come out in the wash. Scott McClellan is probably only one of the first in a long line of former Administration officials with something to say about how things truly operated at the Bush White House.

    March 10, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. Daniel

    @Al, you heard of Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Rahm, Hoyer, etc..... Funny how Rove called Obama to the carpet and caught him in a lie. I'm noticing a pattern here. I think Obama is allergic to the truth.

    March 10, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Destroy Yourselves

    I can't wait to see the covil war between republiklans and conservatives. The death of the GOP is getting closer.

    March 10, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Greg in Cabot, AR

    How funny....Rove is finding out the hard way that t you can't slap a pit bull then complain that it's baking too loud.

    The republicans started this movement thinking they would be exempt from the criticism ......just deal with the barking, you deserve it.

    March 10, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    "Because it will split the conservative vote,” What? The conservative voice of the GOP is ignored. The GOP is dominated by the Neo Conservatives. True conservatives are Libertarians. Folks you have to learn the difference if you really want a return to smaller government and less taxes.
    Do NOT be fooled by the GOP again, they do not want to restore individual liberty in the nation.

    March 10, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. Texas Doc

    They deserve eachother. A match made in heaven. Teabaggers Untie!

    March 10, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. TeddyN

    It's not strange Mr Rove. You do have a hard time remembering that we have a different man in charge now and he doesn't listen to you.

    March 10, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. G

    Obama is a loser...Anybody but Obama...Vote him out

    March 10, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Angi's Mom

    Why is this man still showing his face? He should have been indicted.

    March 10, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. MR AMERICA, average American

    The comparison was not to "some soldier stuck on an island"... the comparison was to someone not accepting reality. Master of Spin.

    The GOP loves to say how Obama is taking away your freedoms...I'd like to see them name one, and at the same time explain how their stance on marijuana, abortion, gay rights, etc is not an attack on freedom....

    March 10, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. american patriot

    OH I HOPE SO..............

    As a Tea Party American Patriot. I hate both parties and want both parties removed from office NOW.

    They are BOTH CORRUPT and ruining America.

    I am praying for the Second American Revolution to start so I can be the first one through the door in the Halls of Congress.

    It is time we start kicking some congressional ass.

    March 10, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Palin/Beck 2012

    What?! The Tea Party is exactly what this country needs. If more Republicans would just jump on board and become real true bootsrappin' conservatives and stop this Nobama-Peloski spendulus health-care take over of grandma's death panels, everything will finally be RIGHT in this country.

    The only problem with Bush was he spent too much of China's money. If only he would've cut these socialist programs like Soc. Security, Medicare, EPA and the FDA – then we would've had the money to run our wars properly.

    March 10, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. Dan

    Karl Rove is ful of crap. I was in Intellegence in the Army & I knew there was No WMD. They all Lied! There was No mistake! Everyone followed the Administration & there twist on Intelligence.

    March 10, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. jane in wi

    Tea Partiers are a joke, they are so much more "american" than the rest of us! They are only trying to make it look like Obama is a socialist. Talk about the weak and the dumb=Tea Partiers

    March 10, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Regis from Plantation FL

    I hope the tea klan party hurt the GOP but again who cares about Rove lies: By the way there is no difference between the tea parties and the republikkkans : they all are the same insensitive inbreed freaks who just happen to wake up suddenly like Zombies since Obama is president........I bet they don't mess with the Holy water on Sunday.

    March 10, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. marcus

    Death Panels? Isn't THAT special! Did you borrow someone else's words or, did you think that one up on your own??

    March 10, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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