August 16th, 2007
08:52 AM ET
13 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.

TIME.com: Rove's final retreat 

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Karl Rove
soundoff (451 Responses)
  1. Smoe Oregon Oh

    Hee hhe heee,
    Clinton. PHONY BALONEY.
    BIG CIGAR, little relevance

    August 16, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. NoRinos, Columbus, Ohio

    If Hillascare wins the presidency, does that mean Willie gets to entertain the spouses of the world leaders while the diplomatic meetings are being held?

    August 16, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  3. Kelly in Montana

    Give it up, right wingnuts and Obamalots–Hillary is the only Democrat with the smarts, strength, and record to win this contest. I love the way her detractors talk about her "negatives". Know why she has 30-40% negatives? Because 30-40% of the country is gung-ho conservative nutballs who fear her. The rest of us, democrats and independents who think that politics is about reason and intelligence, like her. Obama doesn't have strong negatives from the far-right because they know he is unelectable. Figure it out, dopes.

    August 16, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. Ralph M.

    Karl Rove has spoken the truth. Bill and Hillary are the "Tonton Macoutes" of the USA. These people are flawed and they do not deserve another chance at the presidency. Hillary refuses to release her files until after the elections. That is just a small part of many more controversies that are going to happen if she gets in office.

    August 16, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  5. Gerri larsen, Pleasanton, CA 94566

    I'm fascinated that Hillary can change accents, depending on her audience. She doesn't think we, average Americans, notice that. Her condescension will ultimately be her downfall in the presidential race.

    Reminds me of an old vaudeville joke (yes, I'm that old). "The lady wants a green suit, turn on the green light."

    August 16, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  6. Casey, Lake Oswego, OR

    Why don't the wealthy politicians who complain about the government not providing free benefits to poor Americans put their money where their mouths are and dole out their own cash to the poor? Hillary is just another example of soap-box hypocrisy.

    August 16, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Damien Brucchi, Chas,SC

    Say what you will about Karl Rove, but the man knows his politics...as usual, Hillary thinks she can buy her way into the presidency, just stay out of enough hot water, and put on the same style of schmooze that Bill did...exept Hillary is not good enough in front of a camera like Bill was, no matter how much they train her.

    Hillary will not be the next US President. Just is not going to happen. Hype it all you want liberals, but it will not happen.

    There is no one on the political landscape right now worth voting for. Sad. Just a bunch of yappers with money trying to buy the ultimate power position. Qualified or not, they run anyway hoping for enough of the right sound bites to stick.

    August 16, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. JH, rockledge, fl

    I believe that a news source such as cnn should refrain from calling Karl Rove "Bush's brain" use quotation marks and not name a source. Sophmoric attempt at best for a newschannel that has clearly chosen sides.

    August 16, 2007 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  9. Dana W, Seattle, WA

    Hilarious to see people say Karl Rove is underhanded in his statements. Open up your eyes people. He is talking about polling. Hillary has a lot of negative polling out there, and he is only saying she has history against her.

    As for the comment by Pat P. A C average candidate trumps a C minus candidate any day. Bush had better grades than Kerry.

    August 17, 2007 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  10. mike, Coarsegold, cal

    Bless you Karl. I love it when you get the left in such a fit! Thanks for the memories!

    August 17, 2007 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  11. Tom Gawronski

    Ms. Clinton has done nothing for healthcare in the U. S. maybe in a foreign land where she is not running for president. I am still confused as to why she tolerates Mr. Clinton is it because of her only intention to get into the White House, and hide all the state of Arkensas ,and the Rose law firm records for several more years till the Clinton library is built.

    August 17, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  12. Nicole Smith Silver Spring, Md.

    I'm so glad Hilary told us she was a "girl", I wouldn't have guessed. Do we really want to have that shrill voice for 4 years?
    Bashing Rove doesn't erase the truth about the Clinton's. Yuck.

    August 17, 2007 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  13. m. Kraft

    Why would anyone want to vote for a candidate who is a tax dodger. If you or I failed to report $100,000 on our income tax return and our yearly income was less than amount, we might be behind bars. But as the First Lady, the IRS gave her a slap on the wrist and made her pay taxes on that money that she supposedly worked for as an Attorny on Whitewater. Of course, Bill did not know anything about that. Right. Wrong, because we all know that Bill is a convicted liar and she is also.

    I don't care for Bush or the current crop of Repubs. running but I do believe they are more honest than the Clintons. Also, she took furniture and painting out of the W.H. that had to be returned. I have big problems with Thieves and liars

    August 17, 2007 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  14. John McCuen, Cape Coral, FL

    Hillary's negative numbers are so high that they locked up her past in the Clinton Library. In her ad she says the troops are invisible to George Bush. That is a stupid mistake campaign wise because she herself voted against funding the troops, voted against wiretaps to protect them and now says they have failed and we must get out of Iraq. She'll have her attorneys challenging all the military absentee votes just like Gore did because the military can't stomach her.

    August 17, 2007 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  15. Bin Fartin, A hole in the Pak

    John,

    If you look closely at that ugly mug, you will notice that her hair line is receeding like Karl's, her teeth structure is freakish to say the least, he chin is protruded and clown like, and her cheeks are puffy, like a squirrel's cheeks full of nut…

    Why did she stick with crooked-dick bill, after her public humiliation? What kind of person would do that? Weak and silent!!LOL!!!

    August 17, 2007 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  16. Margo, Portland

    Nik from Toronto believes that Hillary cannot be bought!

    Of course, Nik from Toronto uses Canadian spelling.
    Worse, Nik from Toronto does not understand how the American political process works (he believes that the President of the United States of America is able to legislate), which is probably why his comments are not logical.

    August 17, 2007 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  17. Danny, Smyrna, GA

    "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.

    Posted By Nic, Toronto, Canada : August 15, 2007 4:16 pm "

    What I cannot stand is some dumb*ss Canuck telling us what's best for our country and refering my President's actions to Nazis.

    We sure as heck don't need some weakkneed candidate willing to allow other whimpy countries like Canada telling us how to defend ourselves.

    Canadians enjoy the protection and economic benefits of the USA, then complain. Typical, lame Canucks.

    August 17, 2007 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  18. Jon, Everett WA

    please that it were true – I would LOVE to be invisible to the federal government. Don't pander to me, don't offer me programs and services – take my minimal taxes and kill terrorists.

    August 17, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  19. Yankee, Boston, MA

    I agree it's time for an end to divisive, partisan politics- Hillary/Bill Clinton in the WH will result in a re-hash of the past and more petty, unproductive politics. While Federal gridlock has merits, there are many solutions that most Americans can agree upon, regardless of party affiliation.

    August 17, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  20. Dr. Van, Beaverton, OR.

    QUOTE:
    Posted By Dr. Van, Beaverton, OR. : August 16, 2007 3:42 pm

    I'm sorry you expect people to believe these people to believe this as true?

    You've got to be joking, right?
    Posted By Marsha, Portland, OR : August 16, 2007 4:18 pm
    UNQUOTE:
    --
    Sorry Marsha, but it is true, as stated. I didn't mention half of it.

    If you wish to verify, take the time to go back over the Oregonian Newspaper files there in Portland. The staff will be happy to tell you how to go about this.

    Start around the time of their last days in office and continue reading for the next 6 months of headlines. I know that it is there because I read those papers at that same time they came out.

    I know that it appears to be a big chore but it is not as formidable as it sounds, and will give you an overview of the crap these two have gone through over the years. They are why I switched to Republican.

    I wish you well, and hope you find the truth about this issue.

    August 17, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  21. Margo, Portland

    MATT FROM AUSTIN:

    I have studied Constitutional law, and I not only learned how to spell Habeas Corpus, but also the meaning of the term, and its role in our system.

    Some folks pretend to know what is in the Constitution, but those of us who have studied the document recognize those who are merely bluffing their way through.

    PRESIDENT BUSH IS NOT DOING ANYTHING THAT IS AT ODDS WITH HIS SWORN OATH TO PRESERVE, PROTECT, AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. If he were, there would be immediate consequences. The Constitution is not a list of suggestions. It is not a cafeteria menu that can be picked and chosen. It is not applied willy-nilly.

    The fact that you so blithely charge him of absolutely impossible actions, proves only that you are unschooled in the study of Constitutional law.

    August 17, 2007 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  22. Raul, 130 Degrees in the Shade, Alaska

    Classic porky, always failing to addressing the issue while smearing others. He claims Clinton has done little for healthcare. DAH.. She tried to get national healthcare, but I guess to porky that doesn't count. This is classic republicanfearmonging koulteresque rhetoric. Of course she will lose the election...clearly dirty tricks and smears help the cause.

    August 17, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  23. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    To independent, independent USA –

    I know it's probably a waste of time to respond to someone like you, but I can't let your cheap, snide comments go without answering back. I love this country too much to see a moron like you trash people who are merely exercising their 1st amenment right to free speech. It is our duty as citizens of a democracy to speak out and disagree with our government. I guess you never took a civics or American History class. Oh, I forgot, you don't have an education. That's why people like you voted Bush into office twice.

    You really shouldn't use big words you don't understand, i.e. "liberal commies". Don't you know that Senator Joseph McCarthy used commie pinko and other phrases in the 1950's when he was looking for imaginary communists in our government? What you are advocating is the antithesis of democracy, it's fascism and dictatorship. In those countries where you are not permitted to open your big mouths, that's because they are not free societies. The last time I checked, America was a free democracy. But then, you are one of those who support Bush and his warrantless surveillance of innocent Americans in direct violation of the Constitution. You are as ignorant of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as our president. You really should read it sometime. It is a brilliant document created by men who loved freedom and wanted to create the first real democracy. But they could never have anticipated that idiots like you would want to throw it all away.

    Why don't you do all of us a favor and go crawl back in that cave from whence you came? You haven't a clue about what it means to be a real American.

    August 17, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Lisa Corpus Christi, Texas

    Since it appears as though the Dem. machine and the media...CNN in particular (apparent by the amount of the biased coverage) have already decided that Hillary will get the nomination, one can only hope that Edwards will choose to run as an independent. He may not be as clever as Hillary delivering sound bites, but his candor and commitment to relevent social issues is a breath of fresh air.

    August 17, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. David, Salinas, CA

    I think we need to separate two elements here: One is ideology – one’s positions on the important political issues of the times. In this department Karl Rove is further to the right, and Senator Clinton to the left, but both are fairly moderate compared to say Tom Tancredo and Dennis Kucinich. The other element is politicking – the business of running a candidate for office. In this department Karl Rove is an acknowledged master, along with James Carvelle, the late Lee Atwater and many others. Now, I don’t like Karl Rove’s ideology any more than my fellow Democrats on this blog, but this article is about the political horse race. (I have heartfelt beliefs, but I must admit I really love the game for the game’s sake). So let’s look at the flaws of our candidates:

    Senator Clinton has very high negatives in the current polls. A certain amount of that isn’t going to change (30-35% of the same hardcore Republicans who watch FOX and still support President Bush and the war in Iraq). An equal percentage (give or take) love Hillary. And the balance is another third of the country who still have a sense of Clinton that is out of touch with reality, and that can be changed. I don’t care if you call it a vast conspiracy or not, but right-wing talk radio (and our own James of Phoenix, AZ!) have kept up a near-constant barrage of lies about Clinton’s persona. Once the truth comes out (and you can bet it will given the media abilities in the Clinton camp), that Hillary Clinton is a woman of compassion (a lifetime of service to those in need), humor (she really is funny), accomplishment (her Senate record is amazing, so keep tossing me that softball, xtina), faith (her deep religious conviction is acknowledged by even her harshest biographers) and values (she fought to keep her family together and raised a wonderful daughter) the views of moderate independent voters can and will be swayed. Of course there’s still the big flaw – the hormonal one. Senator Clinton is the first person with an XX chromosome who has a serious chance at the oval office, and if you think that’s not going to matter I refer you to the outrageously sexist comments under every Clinton post on this blog. I hope we as a nation can get past this nonsense, but the gambling man in me isn’t so sure.

    But things aren’t as bleak as Bush’s brain would have us think. Rove says Senator Clinton is “fatally flawed” as a candidate. I say that may be so, but who isn’t? Senator Clinton won’t be running against the second coming of Ronald Reagan (despite what a few Fred-heads claim). The only Republican candidates with any chance at the nomination are all “fatally flawed” themselves. I’ve got to be careful here because I promised to be respectful in an earlier post, but let’s look at some of the problems with the Republican front-runners:

    Mayor Giuliani has to defend a decidedly left-wing record on social issues to a right-wing base. You can bet those photos in drag and those pro-choice videos will get a lot more air time. I’m going to stay away from it here but I doubt if his personal issues will go away. He’s also got the problem of a minimal resume (I don’t think a mayor has ever won the Presidency) and his own propensity for gaffes (29 hours at the WTC in three months doesn’t make him one of the rescue workers). Once the American public gets to know the real Giuliani his numbers will drop like a rock.

    Governor Romney has to defend his record as a corporate raider (bankrupting American companies, firing workers and shipping jobs overseas might work for Gordon Gekko, but it looks a little weak on a 30 second tv spot), his flip-flops on pretty much everything (abortion, immigration, stem cells, gay rights). his hiring of illegal immigrants for state and personal yard work, his quirks (Battlefield Earth? Dog on the roof?), and his religion (not fair in my opinion but we’re talking horse race here and it will be a factor).

    Senator Thompson has to defend an indefensible lobbying record (asbestos, abortion, tobacco and Aristide is about as lethal a combination as I can imagine). Add his Washington insider status to the fact that he never actually did anything in the Senate and he doesn’t have much to run on beyond name-recognition from Law & Order re-runs.

    And poor John McCain, the only Republican contender actually qualified to be President in the middle of a war, is despised by his own party for being courageously correct about immigration. The vehemence is unbelievable for this American hero, a tribute to the xenophobic powers of Buchanan and Tancredo and Limbaugh and Coulter and CNN’s own Lou Dobbs. I’m sorry to say it, but I think McCain is out of this contest. The party of Reagan hates McCain so much they’re even making age an issue!

    From the perspective of pure politicking, everybody running has serious problems. But I think the Democrats will take it. Because here’s the final fatal flaw, the one that literally kills, the stake in the heart of every Republican contender: they ALL support the Bush administrations utterly reckless and failed excursion into Iraq. The tragic Iraq war will be the defining issue of the 2008 campaign. Every one of the Republicans is on one side of the issue, and the vast majority of American voters are on the other. Game, Set and Match: Hillary (or Barack, or Bill, or John, or Joe, or Chris, or whichever Democrat gets the nomination).

    So Rove is right: Senator Clinton has flaws. But who doesn’t? It’s going to be a battle of the damaged. May the least flawed win.

    August 17, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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