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. Gary Landfried, Waco Texas

    All this political HATE SPEACH. I think it is sad that people have to resort to call names like little children in a play ground. Grow up and join the the real world. Give good debate not America hate.

    August 16, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Davey Jones, No Cal,

    This country needs true, qualified leadership. Having the population choose who is "electable" NOT "qualified" is why we're suck with Bush and the mess he's created. We deserve the best qualified person, who doesn't cater to special interests and CARES about our country, its future. My choice: go Bloomberg!

    August 16, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Julius, Philadelphia, PA

    It looks as though Hillary's camp can't keep themselves from looking for a fight. To bring Barack into this whole thing was classless...another reason that I won't be voting for her. We need a breath of fresh air, not this stale, divisive, Washingtonian mind set!

    Barack! '08!!

    August 16, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Matt, Austin, Texas

    Hey Rockycreek,

    Those are some of the most ignorant statements ever to come out of Austin, Texas (excluding what happens at the capitol building every day). All I had to do was read your first few points to know that all you do is listen to right-wing propaganda.

    Cheney was an executive for Hallibuton and concurrently in the U.S. Congress for decades, and he only left Halliburton days before it became known publicly that he'd be running for VP. I did consulting work for Halliburton in the 90s, and Cheney skipped out on a meeting with me (and other more important people) just minutes before it was to occur; this is when they let us know that he'd be gone for about four years or more.

    Ever heard of Habeus Corpus? It's in the Constitution, and dubya specifically disregards it by holding prisoners indefinitely without charging them with any specific crime and with no sentencing. This is a blatant disregard for the United States Constitution. I could go on to talk about how he tried to pass what would have been the only Constitutional amendment EVER to restrict freedoms rather than to ensure or protect them, how they committed treason by exposing a CIA agent's identity, and any number of other examples of this administration's disregard for the Constitution, due process, checks-and-balances, etc. However, there's no use wasting time on all that since you clearly only hear what you want to hear, which is most likely anything that comes from Faux News.

    Your main supporter, Philip from Louisiana, is equally as ignorant. Obama is a Christian, and yes I would absolutely vote him into the White House.

    It's no wonder our Four Fathers didn't trust the American people to actively participate in politics the way a real democracy calls for.

    August 16, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Keep America Strong Indianapolis, In

    The demoncrats will be in mourning once again, when they fail to secure the White House. There's no way the American people will be fooled into voting for such a Socialist no matter how low the Clinton's stoop in their campaign espionage. If you like having your hard earned tax dollars going to weasels who don't want to contribute to society and live off your blood, sweat and tears, then by all means vote for Hillary. Just be ready for the U.S. to turn into a powerless third world nation.

    August 16, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. realist, so cal

    Reading some of the comments here is maddening and proof the 2 party system we currently have is designed to fool a bunch of dolts into voting for either party. If you vote for a democrat or a republican you are really voting for more of the status quo. Dont fool yourself into thinking you are making a difference. If you vote for Hillary because she is a women-you are a dolt. If you vote for Obama simply becuase he's Black-you are a dolt. If you are going to vote republican simply because you cant stomach the democrats-you are a dolt.

    Rove is right regardless of what you think of him personally. Stop towing the party line and open your eyes-you will never get real change until we stop doing the knee jerk us vs them, left vs right, dem vs republican style of voting.

    August 16, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. Cathy Turtletown Tn

    I'm a woman and would love to see a woman pres. but NOT THIS ONE. I'm afraid it will just be to close to the same thing we have now and God knows we can't take much more. I'm going to vote for change, real change, total change. JRE can be trusted to do right for this country he just makes Corp. America scared. Well, thats better then most of America being scared. They other candidates are a little too bought and paid for by somebody somewhere for me to trust them and TRUST IS WHAT WE MUST HAVE BACK IN THE WHITEHOUSE.

    August 16, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Capitalism Rules Anytown, USA

    Hillary = Socialism

    August 16, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Patrick, Austin, Texas

    Some Liberal Clinton-bootlicker came up with all the 'good' stuff Clinton supposedly has done ... spends money here, spends money there, spends money everywhere. I THE TAXPAYER PAID FOR ALL OF IT. stuff like "Grants for small NY businesses damaged by the terrorist attacks.
    Broadband Internet access to rural communities.
    The Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act." etc. ALL TAKING MONEY FROM THE TAXPAYER. GIVE CREDIT WHERE ITS DUE, WITH THE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY PAY FOR IT! We are idiots if we give politicians 'credit' for stealing our money and wasting it on socialistic welfare giveaways.

    Like this nonsense:
    Improving the quality and lowering the cost of prescription drugs." No, sir, the eeeevil *drug companies* are the ones coming up with better drugs. Hillary did squat about that, and her bills have raised the cost of drugs – not a single govt-paid prescription drug programs 'lowers the cost' they just SHIFT THE COST to taxpayers!

    "Middle-class tax cuts, marriage penalty relief and property tax relief." gimme a break. She voted against practically all the Bush tax cuts, especially the key 2003 tax cuts, and is in favor of a huge $1 trillion tax increase – make the Bush tax cuts expire. By opposing making the Bush tax cuts permanent, she supports the largest effective tax INCREASE in our history.

    Our next recession will hit by 2009 thanks to the Democrats stupid anti-taxpayer economic policies.

    August 16, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Felipe, Los Angeles,CA

    Obviously the key in this article is that the opinion is coming from "Bush's Brain". Which considering the downward spiral this country is headed, says a lot about Rove's advice or lack there of. His opinion is as valid as this current administrations ability to succeed.

    August 16, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Angela, Oklahoma City, OK

    As a Republican, I hope Clinton gets the nomination. She will be so much easier to beat than Obama. Republicans can campaign that Obama is inexperienced...that's about it. There is SO much Republicans can say about her. Piece of cake.

    August 16, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Willie Branagan, Fayetteville, NY

    Senator Clinton, among others, appears to be pro-union. I have been a member of a union my entire working life, and although unions are beneficial in allowing employees to have a voice, I believe unions, and their demands, have been a partial cause of the outsourcing. Think of all the jobs the Chinese hold, for instance. Then, think about the current Mattel, Inc. recall. Would the same recall have occurred if the products had been American made? Some of the salaries the unions have demanded for their members have negated the profit margin, such that in order to keep stockholders investing, they have had to seek a lesser cost product. Answer? Outsourcing to foreign countries. Very bad idea. Too bad the bottom line has to be the dollar.

    August 16, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Joe in NC

    There is no doubt that Hillary will have a hard time getting elected, it is much too early to say anything yet. Look at the election of 1980. Despite Carter's extrodinary unpopularity, he led Reagan in most polls during the first half of the year. At that time Reagan was as polarizing as Hillary is now. Democrats hated Reagan because the party had been demonizing him as an extremist for years, and although conservative Republicans loved him, many moderate Republicans disliked him because he challenged Ford in the 1976 primary. Some Republicans (including Ford himself) felt that that was the only reason why Carter won in '76.
    In fact, durning the 1980 primaries, George H. W. Bush's campaign accused Reagan of being unelectable. Of course Reagan was able to turn his 20 point deficet into a victory by 10 points. Now this election is not 1980 by any means-the biggest difference being that Bush can't run for reelection-but we cannot say anything for certain about '08

    August 16, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. elilzabeth fenimore

    Rove is out of reality, just as he was about the 2006 midterms.

    He was wrong – and he's not the voodoo man of politics.

    It must be hard to be the brain for 2 people (Bush's brain).

    But at least now we know the truth –

    and, doesn't it all make more sense this way?

    August 16, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Independent, Independent USA

    You bleeding heart liberal democrat commies make me sick. Life, justice, and freedom are not fun, easy, or given to anyone. Americans have always fought for our way of life. Without this fight, you morons wouldnt have this nice country, a freedom of speech, or a platform to bash any president regardless of party. Move away, see how bad other countries are, then shut your damn commie mouth when you run back with your tail between your legs!

    August 16, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. James, Phoenix AZ

    Matt ~ Austin, Tx

    You were calling out "Rockycreek" on ignorant statements. You'll want to get educated too before throwing stones.

    You wrote, "Ever heard of Habeus Corpus? It's in the Constitution, and dubya specifically disregards it by holding prisoners indefinitely without charging them with any specific crime and with no sentencing. This is a blatant disregard for the United States Constitution."

    You're making the ACLU quite proud – extending the rights of citizenship to non-citizens. The enemy-combatants being held in Gautanamo Bay Cuba are not US Citizens, and were not part of an organized sovereign military. They were terrorists/insurgents taken on the battle field and there are serious questions if the Geneva Convention applies – although we treat these prisoners with better care than most US citizens get (3 square meals, 8+ hours sleep, a promise not to offend their religion, a promise not to use any discomforting efforts to gather useful intelligence, etc).

    And the other thing... it's FORE fathers – not FOUR fathers.

    And I agree – with the level of intelligence exhibited by many posting here – I'm GLAD we're a republic nation!

    August 16, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. JB, Rock Hill, SC


    Nic, that is the funniest thing I have heard in such a long time. I can't believe there is actually someone who thinks Hillary can't be bought. Thanks for making my day!!!

    Posted By Nic, Toronto, Canada : August 15, 2007 4:16 pm
    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 16, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. Patrick, Austin, Texas

    "Cheney was an executive for Hallibuton and concurrently in the U.S. Congress for decades"

    No, he wasnt. He was in Congress in the 1980s, and came to Halliburton in the 1990s.

    Get over your uninformed irrational and immoral hatred of a good man, Vp Cheney. It's a GOOD thing to have a VP or P who has private sector experience. Someone like Hillary whose spent her whole life as a political animal in politics – zero private sector experience except as a lawyer – she has no clue what real workers, business folks, and taxpayers are dealing with.

    As for Habeous Corpus: Terrorists are being held in accordance with law, treaty and humane obligations, and the worlds worst terrorists have even been given pro bono representation to give them more rights than any other enemy combatants have been given in war (heck, even in WWII, if we caught a german out of uniform, you know what we did? shoot him! Yet now, 3 squares a day arent enough, due process is not enough, these terrorists who want us dead get *lawyers*). If you really think we should be releasing Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, you are nuts. Gitmo terrorists in the past who were released have in many cases ended up attacking us again in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are in a war with Al Qaeda terrorists and we wont win if we treat them like US citizen shoplifters in a county courthouse. That's why we should applaud Bush for trying to come up with appropriate Rules of Engagement with Congress on it and getting it passed last year.
    You might disagree with specifics of the polities of treatment of terrorist prisoners, but to say Bush wants to trash the Constitution is just left-wing political garbage, as is the smear about "CIA agents identity" as treason (funny it was Richard Armitage, yet the liars on the left never apoligized to Rove for their smear of him).

    August 16, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Cathy Turtletown Tn

    BTW the polls show that if Hillary wins the nomination that most of the rep. candidates can beat her. So that really tells me we will get more of the same if we vote for her.

    August 16, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. J. Philip, Mt. Olive, Louisiana

    I know the Republicans have problems and here lately they are sounding like the abusive husband who says he will quit and , Hey, it's better than being alone, but Man, the Democrats are a Party of Minorities which is the spitting mirror-image of Socialism , you know Socialism, where the Groups form to make a whole and eventually the strongest group consumes the rest and Bada-Bing Boda-Boom you have Communism.

    Take note Democrats; This is where Hillary will take you.

    And stop it, Barack Hussien Obama is black and muslim, just ask him to step on a Koran and watch his reaction.

    August 16, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. Jim B OH

    Here you can now clearly see what her (and all the Democrats) "position" is – which is "We're not Bush"

    Here's a news flash for Dems – psssst – Bush isn't running in '08!

    What is YOUR plan for America Dems – (I've been waiting for an answer to that since 2000.

    August 16, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Tim C

    Pat P. of Huntington Station, NY....George W. was a successful business owner, scored 1206 on SATs (top 10%), had a 3.6 GPA at Harvard Business School, flew fighter jets in the Texas ANG, and was elected by landslides twice to Texas governor. You may want to check your facts before you underestinate what Rove had to work with here.

    August 16, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Jim Silberman New York, NY


    August 16, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. Rockycreek

    Ok, Matt, I'll bite:

    >>Those are some of the most ignorant statements ever to come out of Austin, Texas (excluding what happens at the capitol building every day).

    You must not read the Letters to the Editor section in the Statesman. Or have listened to any Lloyd Doggett speech.

    >> right-wing propaganda

    When supported by fact, it's called truth. You might want to look into it.

    Cheney? That's a fascinating anecdote you have there (he skipped out on a meeting with admiration for him grows), but exactly how does that negate my points on the subject? It's well known that he lead Halliburton, and that (as I stated) he divested and left his position when he agreed to be the President’s running mate. And your problem with any of this is?

    >>four years or more

    Luckily for the country, it was “or more”.

    >> Habeus Corpus

    Here’s a clue – there’s a reason they’re being held in GITMO. As to the constitutionality of it, there is certainly precedent, and certainly continuing debate. But to cavalierly proclaim the President’s actions anti-constitutional is premature and, well, ignorant. Much like Al Gore’s desperate proclamation that global warming is “settled science”.

    >>how they committed treason by exposing a CIA agent's identity

    Of whom are you speaking? Joe Wilson? This DC hanger-on couldn’t find enough people to “expose” his wife to, starting with writing a lie-filled editorial in the NYT that he KNEW would bring white hot scrutiny on his life and wife. If Val was even remotely concerned about her identity, don’t you think at some time during pillow talk she would have mentioned that this might be a bad idea? Or is it Richard Armitage? Fitzy knew he was the one on day one of the witchhun…err…investigation. And Fitzy never charged him with this heinous crime. Why do you think that was, Matt? Maybe it wasn’t a crime after all? He also, after years and million$, didn’t charge Cheney or Rove. Apparently, to a liberal, a complete lack of evidence of any wrongdoing is clear proof that they did something wrong.

    >> administration's disregard for the Constitution, due process, checks-and-balances, etc.

    Again, do you have anything beyond the standard unsubstantiated talking points?

    >> clearly only hear what you want to hear

    I’ve listened to you.

    >> anything that comes from Faux News

    Interesting, since this is CNN’s website.

    Btw, it’s HabeAS Corpus and FORE Fathers (there were more than four, you know). Sorry for the correction, just didn’t want you to appear ignorant.

    August 16, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Kate Wagar Mpls MN

    Who is the fatally flawed one here? Senator Clinton has lasted through First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the White House, and now Senator for many years.

    Let's see, Carl. You have contributed to the downfall of America through an errant war, corruption and an empty treasury, the loss of respect for America worldwide, and now you can't make it to the end of the term? You and George are the farces of America.

    August 16, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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