May 27th, 2014
11:19 AM ET
4 months ago

Karl Rove: Hillary Clinton is 'old and stale'

Washington (CNN) - Karl Rove, the Republican strategist who just weeks ago ignited a fire about Hillary Clinton's health, now says the former secretary of state is at risk of being seen as "old and stale."

After Rove was asked about Clinton's "inevitability" as the Democratic nominee in 2016 on Fox News, the former George W. Bush aide said "people don't like people who seem to already have it made."

"In American politics, there is a sense that you want to be new, that you don't want to be too familiar," Rove said Monday. "You want to be something fresh, you don't want to be something that is old and stale."

Clinton is "thinking" about running for president in 2016 and is widely considered the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Rove's comments are in line with what a number of other Republicans have said about 2016: Clinton's age is "fair game."

If Clinton, 66, is elected president in 2016, she will be 69 years old, just a few months younger than the United States' oldest elected president: Ronald Reagan. Democrats have charged that questioning Clinton's age is sexist and out of bounds.

Rove has made a habit of lobbing rhetorical bombs at the former secretary of state. Earlier this month, Rove questioned Clinton's health by suggesting that she had a "traumatic brain injury."

Rove stood by his comments, despite the fact that many Democrats – including her husband, former President Bill Clinton – defended Hillary Clinton.

In response to Rove, Hillary Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said "Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying." As for Clinton's health, Merrill added, "She is 100%. Period."

On Monday, Rove said that in Hillary Clinton's case, becoming the frontrunner this year "has its disadvantages."

"It's easy to fall into nostalgia, and Hillary Clinton may be in danger of doing this," he said. "She is talking about how good things were when Bill was in office. When Bill was in office, the economy was better. Which, to some degree, it helps her. But it also hurts her because it makes her look like yesterday."

In a number of recent speeches, Hillary Clinton has touted her husband's years in the White House from 1992 to 2000.

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton told a progressive audience in Washington, D.C. that the 1990s "taught us that even in the face of difficult long-term economic trends, it is possible through smart policies and sound investments to enjoy broad-based growth and shared prosperity."

She went on to bash former President George W. Bush as someone who focused solely on tax cuts for the rich. Bush, she said, proved "we can turn surpluses into debt, we can return to rising deficits."


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Karl Rove
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    Hey CNN. You folks hoping to keep America tuned in as Karl Rove bloviates against Hillary for the next two years? Yeah, that'll do it. A repeat of 1993 – 2001. Add Jeb Bush to the mix and we'll get to repeat 2001 – 2008 Bush talking points as well.

    Good luck with viewership.

    May 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. YoonYoungJo

    I would take a 50% healthy Hillary over a 110% most GOP. I do like some GOP candidates and I actually understand the GOP parties philosophy but I cannot agree with putting economy ahead of humanity. I believe a strong economy and providing benefits to corporations to prosper is absolutely necessary but I cannot agree with doing it the expense of the middle class or doing it at all costs. I believe in world solidarity and world stability but not by allowing our enemies or those acting against the interests of freedom, liberty and justice free reign. For me personally, that is my main issue with the GOP. I agree with some of their philosophy but they often do it at the expense of everything else.

    Anyways back to the article, for Rove to be calling Hillary old is a little sexist. The age issue would never be brought up if she were male. If Rove wants to criticize her he needs to find real things to do so. Not some paper weight cartoonish rubbish. And he needs to stop fabricating or orchestrating criticism. Its total crap.

    May 27, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    --if you listen to Karl Rowe, Rush Limbu, Glenn Beck, Ted Cruz, Ann Coulter–you are either an idiot or dead, these guys are on drug and mouthful of venom. Nothing more nothing less.

    May 27, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Look who's talking....
    Look in a mirror Karl. Look in a mirror. I also saw a headline on one of the supermarket rags stating the same thing with some hideous photoshopped picture of Hillary saying she had brain damage.

    Smear and lie that's all the GOP is good for. What I would like to know is why the MSM isn't saying anything about 95% of the previous Presidents being quite old and not in the best of shape. Yep. Crickets on that MSM, just like Ted Cruz' birth certificate...

    May 27, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Fed Up in South Florida

    People better wake up – we already have too many commies in office

    May 27, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Vince

    Old and stale? Maybe...but so are GOP social policies...so bye bye young people vote.

    May 27, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Tony

    Now that the Tea Party, also known as the extreme right wing of the Republican Party, has gone the way of Mitt Romney, Republicans need other people to step up. Karl Rove wants to volunteer his services. Unfortunately, he is old, stale, irrelevant, and nuts.

    May 27, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. YoonYoungJo

    This is what happens when you start allowing or perpetuate orchestrated slander or fabricated criticism. Although nobody believes Hillary has brain damage, technically Rove is right. If Hillary was wearing special glasses for impaired eye sight, it is because of some injury. And yes, it is part of the brain that was injured. So technically it is brain damage. Now is it the type of brain damage that Rove is trying to orchestrate it to be? Not even a chance. I am curious if this is what the next presidential race will turn out to be. I seriously hope not. I hope the entire 2016 presidential race isn't filled with orchestrated slander and fabricated criticism. Smear campaigns are ugly and after awhile, pretty darn boring. People want to hear about the issues not whether someone is able to twist slander and orchestrate criticism. That would be corruption on the ultimate level. Politicians who, instead of talking about issues, instead spend their campaign funds to bribe or provide favorable situations to people who will say the smear they instruct them to say. Not a good presidential race, please don't make 2016 like that.

    May 27, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. rla

    Bushes and Clintons are old and stale neither in 2016- we need leaders not family dynasy=ties interested in their historical value rather than Americas!

    May 27, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Joan

    This is just ridiculous. My math puts Hilary Clinton at 66 years and Rove 64 years. So he must be old and stale too. This is one of the most silly "news" stories I've seen so far. Karl Rove is desperate to be in the limelight with these stupid statements and unfortunately the MSM is giving him the attention he craves.

    May 27, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Enough of rove, already. Please note that his name was not started with a capitalized letter, because he deserves no respect on any level. If there was ever a creep in need of being put in it's place, it's this creep.

    May 27, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Hooper

    What's wrong with this man? He's got to know that he's one of the most hated, if not the most hated person breathing.

    May 27, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    And remember before you start talking about political dynasties..... There have been 2 Bush's in the WH with 2 more waiting their turn BUT there has been ONLY ONE Clinton.

    May 27, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. O'drama ya Mama

    Karl Rove: If they are young and fresh just say they lack experience, if not just say they are old and stale.

    May 27, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Dead Bear

    The only thing "old" and "stale" in regards to our country's politics is the GOP but nice try, Karl. Do insist on arguing for Reaganomics, the overturn of Roe v. Wade, defense spending at Cold War levels, and all the other archaic and misguided policy stances that keep Republicans the party of stupid all the while telling the American public that your ideas are fresh and innovative. Seriously, you must think we're as stupid as the puppet commander in chief you and your conservative buddies on the Supreme Court rammed down our throats back in 2000.

    May 27, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. ssdf

    karl rove is just upset that the world has passed him by and people like nate silver that own a computer that doesnt use punchcards are more important then he is.

    May 27, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    In other words, Rover is implicitly acknowledging that he's terribly afraid of the kind of resonance with the public it might have if Hillary spends time explaining to people why the economic policies of a Dem administration led to an economic boom. Rove's counterargument: "history doesn't matter at all, there are no lessons to be learned from the past and talking about what's been done before and why it worked or didn't work makes you sound old."

    /golfclap for conservative claptrap

    May 27, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    You know CNN, if you stopped giving Rove and AFP and others free broadcasting of their disgusting reactionary rhetoric, you could probably charge them more for their advertising time. Or is this part of the deal? Are they actually paying you for the commercial time AND for the ostensibly free broadcasting of their filth? I mean, this article might as well have "paid for by Crossroads" at the bottom of it.

    May 27, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Dallas

    I am so sick of Karl Rove I could scream. He's nothing but a nasty, vile, bigot who none of us should pay any attention to. I would vote for Hillary any day of the week over the clown car republican/tea bags who are so delusional to think they could be President. Keep it up Karl, you'll see a democratic landslide come November 2016!

    May 27, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. WB

    Hillary Clinton is "old and stale."
    –An old and stale white guy.

    May 27, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Steve, New York City

    Unlike the Neocons, who are dangerous, power-hungry bigots, Karl Rove is more of an amusing clown.

    That being said, I am also FAR from being a Hillary fan. . . though at this point, I'm also considering holding my nose and voting for Miss Ego, as I'm more than scared to see what a GOPer in the White House will do to the supreme court.

    May 27, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    If Rove is looking for "new" and believes that "people don't like people who seem to already have it made" then that nixes Jeb.

    May 27, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    If Karl Rove and American Crossroad are such defenders of American freedom, then let's see their donor list (names and amounts).

    That way, we can personally thank them for their service to our country.

    May 27, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Speaking of old and stale, how about them repub economic, military and foreign policies that are all PROVEN FAILURES?

    May 27, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Old and stale = sounds about right, when thinking of the policies the gop/tea bags propose for our country.

    May 27, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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