April 29th, 2008
08:50 AM ET
13 years ago

Rove tells Obama how to win

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/28/art.roveobama.gi.jpg caption="Rove is giving some free advice to Obama."](CNN) - The man widely credited for President Bush's two electoral victories just can't stop giving advice to this year's Democratic presidential candidates.

Former top Bush aide Karl Rove addresses Barack Obama directly in his latest Newsweek column, telling the Illinois senator that his once-strong candidacy has gotten weaker and that "you're making mistakes and making people worry."

Rove, who has previously used his column space in Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal to dole out advice to the candidates, specifically says the Illinois senator's reaction to the uproar over his former pastor's remarks and his comments about some small town Americans has "reinforced the growing sense you don't share Middle America's values. He also cites Obama's comments about flag pins and his relationship with 1960's radical Bill Ayers as evidence Obama is out of touch with ordinary Americans.

But the longtime Republican political strategist offers Obama six suggestions for how he can reignite his presidential campaign, starting with shaking up his stump speech, which he says sounds "old and out of touch."

Rove also suggests Obama sharpen his repudiation of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial sermons, pledge to name specific Republicans to his administration, and spend more time back in the Senate to burnish his chops as legislator. Obama, Rove says, also needs to stop responding to Clinton's attacks and offer more concrete policy proposals.

"You have talent, intelligence and tapped into something powerful early in your campaign. But running for president is unlike anything you've ever done," Rove writes. "While you'll almost certainly win the nomination, Democrats are nervous about the fall. You've given them reasons to be.โ€

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Karl Rove
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Cindy Souza

    I agree with Rove. I even saved the article. I worry if Hillary doesn't win because the choice between Obama or McCain is certainly something to worry about. If if have to live through another 4 years of someone making bad decisions I will start going to chruch and buy a gun.

    April 28, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  2. Lee

    One of the strategies that the news media has failed to pick up from the Republican is the fact that most of Hillary Clinton's votes in PA have actually come from the Republicans.

    Republicans believe Hillary Clinton will be a weaker candidate in the general election, so there was an organized effort to encourage the Republican base to come out and support HRC in the primary. These voters for HRC will stop voting for her in the general election.

    Please listen to the right-wing radio talk show hosts. You will understand how HRC won Ohio, Texas, and PA.

    April 28, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Nevada voter for Obama

    to California voter:
    Do you know ANYTHING of liberation theology; it is not about putting white folks down, but rather black folks lifting themselve up and there is nothing wrong with a commitment to Africa. We have been committed to an unwinnable war in Iraq for these several years and to what avail? I send money to help poor people in Africa as I do to my local charities to help out poverty here in the U.S. and I am a white person.
    Moreover, Sen. Obama never said he did not hear things that he might not have agreed it, he said he did not hear THOSE things that were looped ad nauseum by the press. If you watch the entire sermon of Rev. Wright and not just the "worst of", his words don't come off as being very hateful at all. Context is everything. But closed minds don't usually want to be confused by or with the facts.
    Now more than ever–OBAMA '08!!! YES WE CAN!

    April 28, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. lb

    Whites are always ready to tell a black man, any black man what to do. Whites voted for Obama overall in the states he won.
    Clinton is not winning and she cannot win. It does not matter what governor backs her,
    Sheโ€™s just sabotaging the election. Detroit and Florida is going to be seated by splitting equally. All the hoopla about what governor supports Clinton is not necessary of any consequence.
    Where does it say that Obama need CNN help in reaching white folks?
    According to the CNN reporter that says blacks are against Rev Wright. Wright is not running for president the coverage is done by you the media. Where are all these blacks?
    All the white areas that Clinton has so won so far, must remember that when Obama wins. He will also remember his constituents. Obama is for all people. So try not to talk down to him about him being intelligent he is or how eloquent he speaks.
    CNN is trying to say he is failing. Just stop the prejudice we see through it.
    Sen. Obama campaign is more about jobs, jobs and jobs and people, and the economy and the war than Clinton is. All Clinton is doing at the moment is just sabotaging the election. The court is disenfranchising the voters, because they want the republicans to win. This is called suppression tactics. Who w is pulling these strings and where did this left field come from? stop talking about get t this crap out do something that makes sense. How the hell did this happen It has been dormant why all in a sudden. Full og it.

    April 28, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. Ardnuas

    Offer your ADVICE to Hillary....... She is just like Bush, she will SAY and DO ANYTHING to win!!!!
    Obama/Edwards 08

    April 28, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. HP Boston

    Gee Obama how many crazy uncles do you have?
    Well your new mentor sounds about wright on Rove

    Soon the daily on msnbc will be posting your loss of delegates as the days go by, wright and rove may be your last breath of campaigning.

    April 28, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. Buddy


    April 28, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. FactCheck

    All you Clinton-sheep attacking Obama for sitting in the pews when Rev. Wright made his speeches... by your own logic, I guess you all must be strong followers of Bush/Cheney policies seeing as how you didn't leave the country when they attacked Iraq, ignored the effects of Katrina, etc.

    April 28, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. Steve

    The BS Obama has been pulling since day one is unbelievable, he makes George Bush look like honest Abe. My wife worked on the Hillary campaign and in the beginning it was stressed to people working on the campaign not to criticize other candidates, only speak about the positive. Did anyone else watch the debates in the beginning? That's what Hillary was doing and the whole time she was being savagely attacked by all the Republicans and Democrats especially Edwards and Obama.

    When she finally started to defend herself the Obama camp complained she was being negative and that he was above that.
    When that didn't work he claimed the were making racist remarks even though the Clintons have always fought for African Americans rights.

    Remember him criticizing her on her Iranian Guard vote, he didn't even vote, in fact he is number 3 for most missed votes and he is only in his first term, way to be an under achiever Obama.

    So of course Rove is giving Obama advise he's been using Roves play book all along.

    April 28, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. philip

    Rove is evil... almost as evil as Cheney... just not as rich. Anyone who would listen to his well-cloaked words would be better off dealing directly with the devil.

    April 28, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Lee

    I think Carl Rove is giving Oama some good advice, however I would love to see Hillary get elected, just to see all the rats who have abandoned ship, like Richardson and Morris, get their comeuppance.

    April 28, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. Dennis, NY

    I find it ironic that Clinton's camp has stolen a key phrase of Obama's camp and twisted it. Which says more about the leader that wants to bring change to our country "Yes WE can" or "Yes SHE can" ?

    Obama tells it like it is and makes no bones about the fact that WE are going to have to work to get out of the mess we are in. Clinton simply promises that if we trust HER with our well being she'll make it all right. Now tell me which one sounds more realistic?

    Americans need to grow up and realize that things are not how they should be and no government will make them right without the people being motivated by a leader to make changes. That is where Obama gets my vote he is honest, real, and most of all has integrity and enthusiasm to lead us in the right direction.

    Obama and Clinton have nearly the same stand on all issues so the big difference is personality. Why would you bank your victory on the candidate that 60% of Americans think is dishonest, I mean come on, really?

    April 28, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  13. Jerry in Florida

    "No You Can't", plain and simple! American voters are starting to wake up and seeing through the haze. Besides, when Florida and Michigan voters are enfranchised, Senator Clinton will be the clear winner. I realize the that the Bill Richardsons, the Kerries, the Kennedys, and other phonies across America are not going to be happy, but that is part of the reality of politics.

    April 28, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  14. markie

    Karl Rove would want to see the Democratic party in disarray by pitting Obama against Clinton-so to impress on us that the Democratic party is bad for America and to let us know that the Republican party is better.

    April 28, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. luan isuffi

    And why I am supposed to read Rove in Newsweek?
    Isn't he the most arrogant and incompetent lier of Bush
    I am cancelling my subscription.

    April 28, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. Nora, FLORIDA

    Wow I don't like Rove and have mentioned that he needs to be tried for Treason but He has a VALID point this time. I am a huge Obama supporter who has donated money to his campaign and for once Rove is on to something.

    April 28, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. James

    I just read the whole article and love him or hate him Rove knows how to win. And this isn't about beating Hillary, it is about becoming the next president of the United States. Everything else is just political bull.

    Obama, PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE. Rove knows what he is talking about.

    April 28, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. N

    if you want to win an election, there are worse people to listen to than rove

    April 28, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  19. 58 old white wemen for OBAMA



    April 28, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Cindy in California

    The bottom line is Hillary needs the black vote and Barack needs the "Bubba" vote. I say they form a joint ticket, Obama for President and Clinton for Vice-President. I don"t think the Democrats should chance flubbing this one up, they can win with both of them on the ticket.

    April 28, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Emilio- Ontario Canada


    April 28, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. Penn State

    yeah, its not looking too good for Obama right now. The govenor of N.C has endorsed Clinton. I know that the Obama supporters are not happy right now. Clinton has a lot of momentum. Go ahead Obama, get that republican support from Rove. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hillary '08!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 28, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. Defining moment

    Karl Rove needs to crawl back under his rock and take his disciples Billary with him. Lame attempt to stay relevant and continue operation "Chaos", which is a shame.

    The Obama Tsunami will soon wash out all this rubbish and the American people will regain this great country with President Barack at the controls.

    April 28, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  24. Way to Go

    Boy you Obama supporters just cannot stand it when Hillary gets a nod can you. And to think that your supposed to be religious people and can say all those really nasty remarks. Rev. Wright flock is a bit vulgar and rude!! Does he not teach you to love your neighbors.

    Karl – can you get Obama supporters to get some manners. Obama will never beat McCain – sorry. Hillary is one that will come through. if you want another Republican in office – nominate Obama.

    April 28, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  25. JimM

    Be wary of Greeks bearing gifts.

    April 28, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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