August 23rd, 2007
08:56 AM ET
14 years ago

Is John Edwards 'Karl Rove's worst nightmare'?

Joe Trippi says Karl Rove most fears John Edwards.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Many political watchers are wondering exactly why former top Bush aide Karl Rove has attacked New York Sen. Hillary Clinton so aggressively since he announced he was leaving the White House last week.

Well, Joe Trippi, one of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' top strategists, thinks he knows the answer: Rove "doesn't want John Edwards to win the Democratic nomination."

"Rove knows that Democrats will rally around whomever he attacks—so he attacks the candidate he thinks Republicans can most easily defeat," Trippi wrote to supporters in a fundraising e-mail. "It may seem backwards, but Rove and his cronies did the same thing last time around. In 2004, they were scared of John Edwards, so they attacked John Kerry."

"Rove is using his sneaky, underhanded tactics to try and trick Democrats into rallying around a candidate who won't be as strong as John in the general election," Trippi added.

Rove, who announced he is leaving his post at the White House at the end of the month, has repeatedly criticized Clinton, arguing her "high" disapproval numbers render her a "fatally flawed" candidate.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: John Edwards • Karl Rove
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Elizabeth, Folsom, CA

    John Edwards is the best candidate the Democrats have!!! I'm sure 95% of the people that have critized him here have never taken the time to listen to him and find out what he stands for that is why Hillary will get elected and the Democrats will lose. She's not sincere! She just wants to win baby win and will say anything to achieve that.

    August 23, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. T Soprano Morristown

    "I have to admit that John Edwards was creamed by Dick Cheney in that debate."
    Jane, Moorestown, NJ : August 23, 2007 2:43 pm

    Don't know what Debate you were watching there in Moorestown – but it was all Cheney could do not to get up and choke the intelligent and impressive Edwards...Clinton stands for the status quo...that is money equals power.

    August 23, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. malarson2 Beaverton, OR

    John Edwards has created absolutely no buzz. Hillary is not electable in the primary. The only one who makes sense is Obama and he's the one Rove is afraid of. And rightly so.

    August 23, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Kurt Corpus Christi TX

    Hillary stands the best chance of losing to any of the lame Republicans. Edwards was the best candidate in 04 and the same holds true today. The Dems better take 1 or 2 red states in the south or they're screwed again. What is it going to take before the Dems face the obvious: the only times we have taken the White House in the last 40 years was when a Southern Democrat did it!!

    August 23, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. malarson2 Beaverton, OR

    Correction: Hillary is not electable in the general.

    August 23, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Nina Chattanooga TN

    I am an independent. I don"t go withone particular party. I vote for the people that I believe are going to change things. I would vote for a Edwards/ Obama ticket. I like Edwards and haven't found any I like more. I believe the lady from Wilmington is right. The south doesn't like clinton. She will not hold the south! As for Republicians, have a hard time finding one I can rally behind. To bad Powell isn't running.

    August 23, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. David, Salinas, CA

    To iLarynx, of Atlanta Georgia:

    I used the term “haircut-gate” and I certainly didn’t get it from Hannity. (I thought I coined it).

    For the record, I am an undecided loyal Democrat.

    I agree with Edwards on many issues, and will support him if he is the nominee, but I think he is our weakest choice among the serious contenders. I’m about to post my reasons under a more recent story.

    August 23, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Bobz, Lafayette, CA

    Edwards comes closest to being a true liberal Democrat. I don't really trust Clinton, because her husband was too much in bed with the corporate world and she appears similar. Also Clinton will energize the Republican base to get out. For some reason, they can't stand her even though of all the candidates she comes the closest to being a Republican. She also has a lame approach to getting us out of Iraq. Plus do we really need a Bush followed by a Clinton, followed by a Bush followed by another Clinton? What kind of change is that? Either Edwards or Obama would be more representative of real change and real Democrats.

    August 23, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. JC, Motor City

    Edwards is the Republicans worst nightmare?

    In your dreams Johnny!

    August 23, 2007 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  10. Tom White, Flagstaff, AZ

    In the general election, Hillary is the most likely loser of the top 3 Dems. As a lifelong, and fairly old Democrat, I pray that Democratic primary voters come to their senses and reject Clinton before it's too late. Otherwise, I am certain, we will have President Rudy, which makes me feel hopeless and almost suicidal.

    August 23, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  11. Mac Greensburg, PA

    The whole premise is ludicrous. No one can get Democrats to rally around someone they don't want to rally around. Democrats aren't sheeple. As for Edward's being more of a threat in the 2004 primaries than Senator Kerry, just consider that his inclusion as VP on the ticket gained Senator Kerry or the Democrats nothing. He didn't even bring us his home state.
    Senator Kerry came within 60,000 votes of becoming President-almost unseating a war time president-something that has never been done before in our countries history. Kerry also gave strong debate performaces-and accordingly most people say he won all three debates. A great showing for someone Rove though was easy to beat.

    August 23, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  12. Steven, South Orange, NJ

    Come on people lets get serious Rove being scared by a former WalMart Board of Directors and a personal injury lawyer. It isn't Hillary that Rove is afraid of he's just trying to get more democrats to support her by bashing her. He isn't afraid of Edwards and he knows he doesn't even need to bother attacking him because he will unravel himself. He is really scared of a former community organizer with a funny name, Barack Obama. Why you might ask, it is because Barack Obama is the only candidate who can really bring all different types of people, Black folks, White folks, Brown folks, Asian folks, Old folks, Young folks, etc, etc, etc... out to vote for a democratic candidate. Joe Trippi is doing exactly that tripping. He knows that if he says its Edwards that Rove is afraid of that Edwards might get a little bit more support from Democrats that want to nominate anyone Rove is afraid of. Don't fall into a pity trap. Do the right thing listen to your heart on who should be elected if you really think its Hillary or Edwards go for it. For me I know who my candidate is, Barack Obama the Uniter.

    August 24, 2007 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  13. JDubya, Charlotte, NC

    If John Edwards were to become President, I will move to Canada.

    August 24, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. N.B., New York, New York

    This happened in the last election and it apparently is happening again. John is the most electable, he appeals to southern Americans, he appeals to the regular Joe or Jane, he doesn't present as a Washington "insider" (like Hillary), he appeals to those who want change, he wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, his family was typical middle class, he worked hard and made it. He has a populist appeal. Slimeball Rove knows that by attacking Clinton everyone will rally around her and hopefully hand her the nomination. Hillary epitomizes "insider" and most don't associate her with change but rather more of the same. If she is nominated than Republicans will have a much easier time winning the election and they know that, this is why most of them are joining Rove and attacking Hillary. Hillary is the most controversial among candidates. In the polls she has the highest number of people who "definitely would not" vote for her, she is behind Rudy. I can say with certainty, being from NYC I do not want Rudy as the next president, but, the rest of the country doesn't seem to care what NYers or the FDNY think of Rudy. but if dems nominate Hillary, Rudy will be our next president! (check out rudy-urbanlegend)

    August 26, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Patrick Peavy Plano, TX

    I think Rove is trying to make it seem like he wants Hillary to be the nominee to scare our side into not picking her. They try to make it seem like he is really scared of Barack Obama. I think it is a sad ploy at reverse psychology. After all, how can we ever find out if Hillary can win if we don't choose her as our nominee?

    August 26, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  16. John Andere Saint Louis MO

    400 haircuts? foreclosing on Katrina vicitms? Edwards is the most hypocritical, ambulance-chasing, panderer to ever appear on the American political lanscape. There's two Americas alright, he just represents the wrong one. His candidacy is a joke and he will drift into the political dust. He may think he's pretty smart ... Americans are way too smart for him. We see through his false face.

    August 28, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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