Rove warns Republicans: Shutdown could boost Obama
April 8th, 2011
08:56 AM ET
3 years ago

Rove warns Republicans: Shutdown could boost Obama

Washington (CNN) – Furloughed jobs, interrupted services, and the potential economic ramifications aside, top Republican strategist Karl Rove is warning a government shutdown is likely to strengthen President Obama's hand as he heads into his reelection campaign.

In his weekly polling memo, Rove notes the 1995 government shutdown bolstered President Clinton's image in the eyes of voters as a strong leader, positioning him for a relatively easy reelection victory one year later.

"The shutdowns helped improve Clinton's political standing, boosting both his approval rating and perceptions of him as a strong leader," writes Rove. "At the time, poll watchers noted that, 'the only time Clinton's ratings have improved substantially the past year as a result of his actions has been when he adopted a strategy of confrontation.'"

Rove reports Clinton's approval rating saw nearly a double-digit jump during the 1995 government shutdown and continued to climb as the reelection campaign began in earnest.

Meanwhile, while only 37 percent of voters viewed Clinton as a strong leader in June of 1995, that number shot up to 53 percent six months later as a result of his confrontations with then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other Republican leaders over the budget issue.

"While the government shutdowns didn't jeopardize Republicans' hold on Congress, they helped President Clinton position himself for a successful 1996 reelection," concludes Rove. "President Obama's ratings as a strong leader have slipped this year…Republicans should be careful not to let him recover as he gears up for his 2012 reelection campaign."


Filed under: Government Shutdown • Karl Rove
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. FM

    Let GOP play with fire. After they got burnt, may be they will learn a lesson that the game they played was a bad one!!!

    April 8, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  2. JD in Moraga, CA

    Yeah, Karl – to heck with doing what's best for the country, you have to get the GOP fired up for the election season clown car.

    April 8, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. ted

    Rove, your a dinosaur? The "facist;Racist, Teaparty will be your "Fate" Your parties,gop and tea,don,t worry to much,they have already failed,Stupid? We Independants and Demo.s will take you down in 2012. Unless the American people decide to go Anti-Christ? I think Not!!!! Not worried!

    April 8, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. Sam

    I hope Rove is correct for a change and I hope GOPers will dig themselves into a BIG DITCH!

    April 8, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  5. Florida Joe

    Oh no...I finally agree with something this wingnut says? Go ahead Repubs. the President is the only adult in the room. If you Repubs want to end the EPA and Planned parenthood do it through the proper process not in a budget...But no because you know you could pass it because 53% of Americans are against it so the Right Wing Whakos are doing this...You don't care who you hurt....Just a pathetic excuse for a human..............

    April 8, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. indydave

    Typical, expected response. Not, 'cut the crap and negotiate because it's the right thing to do,' but rather, 'negotiate because it will keep you from losing political power.' Useless Republicans.

    April 8, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  7. Amazed

    Well let me see here Karl....seeing this is all about opening the door for polluters to pollute, take away health care from millions not finally covered, allowing mountains to be destroyed in the name of coal...... who the heck should this boost?

    The GOP.... doing their best to destroy America for all but the rich and the corporate..... Let them eat cake.

    April 8, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    This is getting scary...Tea Party wingnuts are ignoring the advice of Carl Rove, Darth Vader of the GOP.

    April 8, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. Pragmatist

    Now, what is the difference between Karl Rove and Dick Morris? They are both confused.

    April 8, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. Barking Alien

    I think they are giving the GOP and Tea Party types just enough rope to hang themselves. We will know shortly in the polls and elections coming up.

    April 8, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  11. Billy, NYC

    When will GOP begin to put People First and Corporate Interests next? Oops! Never.
    They only care about making sure Obama is a one-term President. What is good for the people about that?
    Paul Ryan's budget is a lie. What's wrong with the GOPs? God helps America.

    April 8, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  12. Nick S.

    This guy's priorities are seriously screwed. He is only concerned with power, not with doing the best thing for our country.

    Congressmen and senators shouldn't collect a salary or benefits during a shutdown, and shouldn't really collect a salary anyway.

    April 8, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  13. Chedar

    It is inevitable that history will repeats itself. If Obama's rating has improve ( and I surely hope so. Obama deserve another term) It will be the demises of the Tea Party

    April 8, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. OneMoreTime

    That's right, don't worry about the cost of a shut-down, don't worry about those who will not get paid, or the
    inconveniences this will create. Once again, from "Bush's brain" we see what the tea/pubs are all about.
    Take down Obama, take control of America, and reap the benefits for the few.

    April 8, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  15. once upon a horse

    Sorry Karl but your way of running things is old history now. The GOP is now held hostage by the Tea Party and they say it's "OUR WAY or NO WAY" and I think in the long run the GOP will be sorry they tied themselves to such an extreme group that knows nothing on how to govern.

    April 8, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  16. rusty155

    Well Karl Rove I finely heard A Republican say the Truth , But It IS the Republican and the Tea Party Fault If the Government shut down. All the Republican do Is Take From the Middle Class and the Poor and Give everything too the Rich and Big Business. And the Lie all the time. Same old story with the Republican , I don't understand what may us Think they could change. Well they had their second chance and they have Blow It. Don't Expect a 3RD one because you won't get It. Use To be a Republican but never again.

    April 8, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. Monster Zero

    Sorry Karl, comparing Obama even to Bill Clinton as a "strong leader" is quite the stretch. Obama has tried to orchestrate and manipulate EVERY crisis America has seen over the last two years into a political advantage. He and his progressive liberals have solved nothing, they have spent us to bankruptcy in their attempt to destroy our Nation. Obama will lose by a landslide if he isn't impeached before the 2012 elections for dragging America into yet another war.

    April 8, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  18. Mad in CT

    For just one millisecond I will confer on the oft-despised Rove (rightfully so) the status of adult no. 3 in the room behind Obama and Reid. Still waiting for signs of ADULT intelligence in that despicable life form called the Republican Tea Party!

    April 8, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  19. SteveR

    And of course there is no possibility he would actually be showing strong leadership, deserving of re-election? Carl doesn't offer that as an option! LOL

    April 8, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  20. Dave

    Voters are already having some serious "buyer's remorse" now that they've gotten a look at the Republicans they elected to Congress last year. When the Republicans cause the government to shut down, and our military and others don't get their paychecks, they're going to lose even more of their already-dwindling support.

    The Republican party has been in steady decline since they became a full-blown theocratic party. Even when they do get elected, it just reminds the public of why they don't like them. Why it's taken them so long, I don't know – all you have to do is look at the red states, who keep electing Republicans consistently and remain at the bottom of the barrel nationally. Want poverty, unemployment, high infant mortality, poor health care, bad infastructure, higher crime, etc.? Then vote GOP, because that's what they deliver. Look it up – Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, etc. – all strong GOP states, all pulling in the worst numbers in the nation.

    April 8, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  21. Nicolette Good

    I wish this headline read: "Rove warns Republicans: Shutdown could harm American citizens"

    April 8, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  22. Justin

    And that is the problem with our country right now... Politicians are planning their moves to make the other guy look bad and boost their own re-election chances..... It is time for these guys to work together for the good of the country and stop looking to the interests of their political parties.

    April 8, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  23. Willie12345

    Well, Carl you better get to work and explain to everyone who is at fault and why. You are a Republican, so carry the banner and speak up !!

    April 8, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  24. Roving Madness

    He must be a smart guy to get W in the whitehouse twice. I'm just not a fan.

    April 8, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. ellid

    As the Republicans once again prove that they're good at nothing but being bullies....

    April 8, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
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