March 10th, 2010
04:26 PM ET
5 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. Dan

    When Powell told the UN there Wwas WMD I was shocked & knew this was not Powell's doing. Then he followed up with the photos of mobile Chemical units & I knew they where just trailers...I submitted my retirement paperwork!

    March 10, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Ron

    There is nothing that karl Rove can say in a book or in person that can justify the damage to a great nation brought on by the unjustified decisions of himself, Cheney and Bush who are without question the most dangerous and destructive Politcal team ever in the history of the United States.

    March 10, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. Not Your Amigo

    Oh please, let Karl Rove crawl back under the rock he came from.

    And Tea Partiers– do you spell that "p-a-r-a-n-o-i-d"??

    So let's see...
    Karl Rove??? Disgusting creep, please go away.
    Tea Party??? Paranoid wingnuts, please go away.

    March 10, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Emmanuel Goldstein

    The faster this cultural cold war becomes hot, the sooner it will be over.

    March 10, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. Mark

    Rove is smarter than Obama and Rahm put together. Throw in Bush with a Yale undergrad and a Harvard MBA and you can see why our executive branch is such bad shape now being run by a lousy law professor and worse President.

    March 10, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. David

    Try to ignore it all you want but the Tea Partiers are Republicans, when they first started it was evident and clear to all that they were a group of Republican sore losers, they were supported and funded through the repubs. The real risk for the Republicans is that this group has attracted the weirdos and uneducated and most of the public do not want to be grouped with this bunch.

    Why is this group getting so much attention, groups like Greenpeace have a much, much, much larger base and the media doesn't give them the time of day.

    March 10, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Emmanuel Goldstein

    McClellan is right; Rove does consider politics to be war. So do a lot of the commenters here. You are all enemy combatants and should be treated as such.

    March 10, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. Jann in Denver

    Once again Rove lies. The Tea Party is not a wide and diverse group. They are a group of right wing fanatics bordering on Klan. If they split the Repugnant Party, I'm all for it.

    March 10, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  9. Fou

    I believe like what Rove has said if conservertive divide, Dem will win
    every seat both of you are loser.

    Fou

    March 10, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. Jim from Seattle

    Tea Party member = Low IQ = primary constituency of GOP

    Don't worry Tea Partiers.. you'll be fully misinformed, with the fear of God and the middle east firmly in tow, come election time, when you'll do your best to put another Bush (aka/Palin or worse) in charge.

    Remember, 2012, the end of the world, is fast approaching... you better get busy creating chaos, versus providing any solutions, or your self-fulling prophecy won't have a chance.

    March 10, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Bassman

    Sarah Pain was right. The Tea Partiers need to select between the Republicans and the Democrats.

    March 10, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Mike

    reid of Nevada is going to try to run a fake third party conservative to try and split the conservative vote in nevada. This is the reason the tea party movement does not need to run a third party. If you do not like the demorat or repulican running in the primary, then run a tea party candidate. Get your tea party candidate on the ballot as the republican and that way we do not have our vote split and end up re-electing a dirt bag like reid.

    March 10, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. Jilli

    Oh, thanks for the advice old wise one.

    How's that permanent republican majority working out for you?

    March 10, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. Vinny,Texas

    He looks like Porky Pigs grandfather.

    March 10, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. ran

    Yes they will hurt the Republicans because they are the Republicans and this is not what the people want any more. We want our elected officials to do for the people not fear/hate/obstruct/purity their way into power.

    Independents and true Democrats are the way to go in 2010 and 2012.

    March 10, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Don't you get it? The trick he's trying to play by saying that the Teatards might hurt Republicans is that he's trying to sell you on the underlying assumption required to make such a statement, i.e., that they're actually separate entities. The Teatards are nothing more than a GOP-instigated, GOP-funded, GOP-organized astro-turf gathering of on-the-loose mental patients who haven't had a nice strong Haldol cocktail for far too long...delusional, tinfoil-hat-wearing, poorly educated, misinformed malcontents who'd eat their own children if they disagreed with a Limbot talking point.

    March 10, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. toxictom

    Where were the tea partiers during the bush years they weren't too upset about the explosion of the debt during those years it's pretty
    obvious the T.P movement is just a bigoted racist organization that
    is using this thinly veiled outrage as an attempt to make sure he's
    a one termer

    March 10, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. rob

    After mudslinging tex gov Ann Richardson,John MCCAIN, John Kerry,etc. and failing to stop 911,saying they knew "FOR A FACT" of WMD ,causing the deaths of 100's of thousands of people, torturing people, destroying Clinton's balanced budget, ...What good have the compassionate conservatives done 2000-2008?!

    March 10, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. gwen from Ohio

    The tea baggers keep complaining about socialism and freedoms being taken away – where were they when bush/cheney made corporate socialism even bigger then reagan?? Do they think its ok to take our dollars and give in to corporations who then ship our jobs overseas?? Thats exactly what bush/cheney/rove did they helped out their rich corporate friends with huge unfunded tax cuts, gave them tax credits to send jobs overseas and made the defense contractors(haliburton) wealthy with an unfunded, unnecessary war that cost us lives and limbs of our young men and women – but they don't care, their friends got rich. The tea baggers didn't care when the republicans were spending money but now that a black president wants to spend money to help all americans – now its bad, now you want your country back – HYPROCRITES/RACIST thats all you are!!As far as loss of freedoms Bush and Cheney authorized wire taps on Americans without court orders – that goes against our constitution – where were you then??? Tea baggers are abunch of dumb racist – we need taxes to support this country and no its not lazy people, its fireman, police, roads, healthcare get over it people!!!

    March 10, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. John in WV

    The republican party has bred a dog called "Teapot" that they now fear is going to bite their ass.

    March 10, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Death Assurance Companies

    This clown has no credibility at all.He hasnt told the truth since he was four years old,when he told his mom to just call him turd blossom.

    March 10, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Donnatella

    I cannot stand this sneaky looking little man, he looks like he sold his soul to the devil, we are not stupid, we know the tea party fanatics are nothing but a bunch of sorry loser racist republicans, so go tell your lies little man to somebody else.

    March 10, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. DJ

    Hey American Patriot,

    I've heard that before. "We will storm the halls of the legislature and take this government back".

    Oh yea, it was Germany in the 1930's! They did just that! First they convince you that the government elected by the people is the problem, then they get you to seize power.

    Have you bought brown shirts for the kids yet? Have you decided which of your neighbors don't think right and should be confined for the greater good? Have you picked out a simple new symbol for your new American flag?

    Yes, we have heard this before...

    March 10, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Quote
    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."
    Unquote

    Wrong! What the TEA partiers are trying to figure out is how to make sure Obama doesn't get reelected. After that there is no common ground.

    March 10, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Quote
    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."
    Unquote

    Wrong! What the TEA partiers are trying to figure out is how to make sure Obama doesn't get reelected. After that there is no common ground.

    March 10, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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