August 16th, 2007
08:52 AM ET
14 years ago

Rove slams 'fatally flawed' Clinton

Rove sharply criticized Clinton Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - He may plan to take a break from presidential politics, but soon-to-be ex-White House aide Karl Rove isn't holding back when it comes to his critique of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

On conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh's show Wednesday, Rove predicted the New York Democrat would win her party's nomination but said she was "fatally flawed" and would ultimately lose the race for the White House.

"There is no frontrunner who has entered the primary season with negatives as high as she has in the history of modern polling," said Rove, who announced Tuesday he was resigning his White House post. (Listen to Rove's comments on Bush, Clinton)

"She is going into the general election, depending on what poll you look at, with high forties on the negative side and just below that on the positive side. There is nobody who has ever won the presidency who has started out in that position," the man also known as "Bush's brain" added. (Related: Clinton happy to give Rove 'heartburn')

Rove also fired back at Clinton's recent campaign ad in which the former First Lady states, "If you're a family that is struggling and you don't have health care, you are invisible to this president."

"I am a little surprised she jumped out there and made such an accusation when she has a record so spotty and poor on health care issues," he said.

Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, brushed aside Rove's critique of her favorability numbers, saying, "It sounds like Karl Rove is writing Sen. Obama's talking points."

"The reality is that as the campaign now gets under way, Sen. Clinton's ratings are improving because Americans are seeing that she has the strength and experience to deliver change," he added. Rove's final retreat 

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Karl Rove
soundoff (451 Responses)
  1. Pat P., Huntington Station, NY

    I'ld bet that if the Clinton campaign had enough money to hire Rove, he'ld accept, and run her campaign into the White House. After all, he was successful in getting a failed business man, Yale C-average, barely two-termer former Texas governor into the White House. And like a typical republican, he'ld do it for the right price.

    August 15, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Neill C.

    She voted against giving a tax break to people paying for their own healthcare. She voted against people being able to take more control over their lives as it relate to SS and healthcare.

    Sounds like the American public is invisible to her.

    August 15, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. RightyTighty

    If Clinton wins the Democratic nomination. Republicans win the elect either way because hillary IS "Bush lite". No matter how you define the word is.

    August 15, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. James, Phoenix AZ

    Fatally Flawed = Hillary Clinton

    * FBI files of her rivals found in her private office
    * Fired Travel Office staff to hire her "friends"
    * Failed healthcare initiative
    * Anger Management Issues

    Maybe Howard Dean could give her a few tips about campaigning? When it comes to Hillary I think Mrs Regan had it right, "Just Say No".

    August 15, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Joel San Francisco, CA

    Coming from the sleaziest Pol in the history of this country, Rove's comments are a reminder about how badly we need to get rid of Bush and his entire crime family.

    August 15, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Hillary's negative ratings have not started to improve by ANYONE'S polling. See all the stories just this week on CNN and all of the other media outlets (media outlets that are certainly not anti-Clinton I might add).

    The fact is that her negative ratings will only go higher the more people see her.

    People just don't like her, nor do they trust her to lead this country.

    Honesty & likeability are character traits that are absolutely necessary in a campaign of this magnitude. One might get by with lower numbers in one of these categories but NO ONE will win with extremely high negative ratings on both.

    August 15, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Linda, Wentzville, Missouri

    The only fatally flawed candidates I see are mostly on the Republican side. For the GOP we have a bunch of Ronald Reagan and George Bush wannabees. Rove has a lot of nerve talking about Hillary's flaws. Maybe he needs to take care of his own legal problems.

    August 15, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Mike West Chester, PA

    Not a big surprise that Rove would divert Ms. Clinton's accusations with one of his own rather than address the validity of the charge. The current administration has long simply tried to smokescreen the public rather than answer any tough questions put to it. Regardless of which party wins in 08, it's nice to know that the levels of accountability and forthcoming from the Executive will be higher since they are at an all time low currently.

    August 15, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    This is the same moron that politically ran the current administration into the ground and created this extremely partisan environment in Washington? And he has the gall to claim foresight into who can or cannot win the presidency?

    Go back to planning your dove hunting trip with Dick. The people will decide this election. Not the Supreme Court.

    August 15, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. Zoomer Teko

    Karl Rove should be Hillary's Vice President. How come Politicians never really do anything smart.

    August 15, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. John, Erie PA

    What a shameless, cheap and false thing for Senator Clinton's spokesman to say!

    Barack Obama has clearly stated in the past that he respects the Clintons and that he thinks she can win if she is the nominee.

    Karl Rove makes a comment, and instead of attacking Rove himself, Senator Clinton's spokesman somehow tries to tie Obama into the whole thing.

    If the Clinton campaign is really so confident that they are going to win the nomination, you'd think they would take the high road. They're nervous, though, and willing to do or say anything it takes to win, apparently.

    August 15, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. Chip Celina OH

    A quick scan of this blog certainly proves Hillary IS a divisive personality.

    These posts reveal she is either the second coming or satan herself.

    Do we need more of that in our national discourse?

    August 15, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Jo, Atlanta GA

    Re: Neill C. : August 15, 2007 3:36 pm

    did you see the verbiage on that bill? Why not pay that money to the ins instead of the tax break?

    Aflac runs the health care systems of countries in the world. GOP think when u talk of universal health care u mean socialized medicine.....

    Don't blame them. I blame the Dems that can explain themselves....what a shame....

    August 15, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. Korie, PA

    We don't need another Bush or Clinton in office for a loooonnnnngggg time!

    August 15, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Margo, Philadelphia, PA

    Hillary's completely out of touch with what the AMerican public want or need. Her record is proof positive. She's an opportunist with no real talents just a lot of cash. I don't think that's what REAL Americans are looking for...she will be found out soon enough.

    August 15, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Charlotte Lacey WA

    Mrs clinton says our President doesn't care about health care for the Amercian people, well she was in the white house with Mr Clinton for 8 years and worked on health care and did what, nothing , she failed there and she thinks she can do it if she is President God for bid, she can't blame the President then if she is in office cause it would be her to try and do what she couldn't do in 8 years.

    August 15, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Nic, Toronto, Canada

    I just can't beleive people are still willing to defend bush and his administration. All he has done is reinitiate Nazi terror control over the american people with anti-civil liberty legislation and fear mongering. The world will be a better place with someone who cannot be bought in the white house. I think Hillary is that person. If not, we're all screwed.

    August 15, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. Jerry Salamone, Webster, NY

    We just can't get rid of Karl Rove, the Pillsbury Dough boy and erstwhile Bush brain. Sour grapes Karl-go clear brush on George's ranch. Good riddance. I regret that you are upset about Hillary, a quality candidate.

    August 15, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Sean, Des Moines Iowa

    Karl...shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh please! Don't wake up the Democrats to that fact.

    August 15, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Duane, Radcliff Kentucky

    Sen Clinton will win the Whitehouse if her only competition tomorrow is what she is facing today, whether Republican or Democrat. She is smart, all american and tough. There is only one person who can beat her and that is Collin Powell

    August 15, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Felix Portland

    Dems will run to defend Hillary because Rove said she was fatally flawed.

    Funny – because there is article on CNN about how DEMOCRATS worrying that she will hurt the party.

    When people stop being partisan – and start being HONEST, most will admit Hillary (while popular with Bill Clinton fans) has the highest negative ratings, motivates the republican base, and will split the Independents and moderate Democrats.

    But until people start being honest – we'll continue to hear how great Hillary is and how evil Rove is.

    August 15, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    No matter what haters say.No matter what the so called pundits do,Hilary Rodham clinton is the most competent and capable hand as the C-I-C of the Armed Forces Of the United States Of America.If she is so hated, bad and useless how come she leads in all polls?She is not only strong but decisive and smarter than most of the men running.Enough of bad mouthing.Sometimes it takes a woman to do the right job.Win Hilary win!!

    August 15, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Erik


    Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, brushed aside Rove's critique of her favorability numbers, saying, "It sounds like Karl Rove is writing Sen. Obama's talking points."

    What a cheap shot from a cheap and slimmy campaign.
    Obama 08!

    August 15, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Paul Jankowski, Portland OR

    Rove is a has been. Who cares what he thinks? Another of W's former buddies jumping ship.

    August 15, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Frankie, New York, New York

    The numbers don't lie – Hillary is polarizing. Yet many reliable studies show it's her strong woman image that makes her intolerable to most of redneck America. She wouldn't have nearly this many negative comments as a man. I'd rather have a strong, experienced woman who IS ready to change the world's perception of America for the better and for the better of it's citizens.

    My vote is for Hillary.

    August 15, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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