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.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Karl Rove
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Frank, Missouri

    Thanks ... ?

    April 28, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Rovianspeak

    Rove is a snake, and is scrambling to endear himself to humans, after crawling on his belly for 7 years. It won't work–he will go down in history has one of the most vile henchmen of the Bush Administration.

    April 28, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Liz in SD

    The amount of effort the GOP has put into preventing Senator Obama from being our nominee should speak volumes as to who is more electable. If Clinton is our nominee the GOP's fundraising will go through the roof!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. Timber

    LOL, the republicans know they can beat Obama, so would love for him to be the nominee. Rove really WANTS Obama to run against McCain because he knows Hillary would probably beat him, but Obama does not stand a chance in hell. C'mon, this is KARL ROVE we are talking about.

    April 28, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. JavaManny

    Thanks for the great advice Karl! What does your math tell you about this election? Mine tells me you've ruined the GOP for a generation. For that, you truly deserve our thanks.

    April 28, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Don-Tampa

    Let's all understand – Obama is running for the nomination not Wright.
    Weekly, Clinton has a new idea, plan and or statement on anything. Where were these ideas, plans or statements for the last 8 years? When did Hillary Clinton get paid to lead any foreign policy delegation?Do we need another debate because Hillary wants one? By the way, there was a debate on the schedule for April 19, 2008, but Hillary pulled out because of a Jewish Holiday.

    April 28, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Venus

    No thanks Rove – Porky Pig!

    Obama – I hear so many people on the side-lines and news-media telling you what you should do!

    Well, looks like you are wining to me and adding superdelegates faster than we can spell the word!

    You are doing just fine. Keep up the great work with your campain and just stay focus on your supporters!

    Rove should be giving his advise to Hillary and Mc Cain!

    April 28, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. R.I.F.

    That's like taking advice on how to get to Heaven from Satin. He said this last week. Why is this news? Another head fake the right wing is using to get the superdelegates to turn on Obama so they give the nod to Clinton. The repulicans are just hoping and praying this happens so they can bring out the blue dress ads.

    April 28, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Oh my – this man is now asking the only honest candidate to start mud-slinging – I think it's just another ploy to get the Dems split even further (if possible).

    April 28, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Rove is so devious a devil that he offers seemingly good advice to adversaries to ensure that in the end he Carl Rove wins.

    Carl thy name is Legion!

    April 28, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Matthew

    Rove is as evil as "rev" Wright. Oprahma should listen to him. He listens to every other evil overlord out there (Wright, Sharpton, Kerry), etc.

    April 28, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Mark, Phoenix, AZ

    Although I see Karl Rove as the devil in the blue suit, he does have a point. I think Obama does need to fire up his speech.

    I believe Obama can bring true change to this country, but he needs to speak to specific ideas about specific policies that affect the average American. I think without this, there are too many that will make the "he talks a good game" argument.

    Regardless, I will stand by Obama to the finish.

    April 28, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. Michael

    Interesting that one day Karl Rove is talking about how Clinton can beat Obama then the next he's telling Obama how to beat Clinton. Sounds like a cat and mouse game to me.


    Gov Easley of NC just announced that he will be endorsing Hillary Clinton for PRESIDENT!!!!

    GO Hillary 08

    April 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. Dennis

    Like him or not, the man does know how to get people elected. Those suggestions appear to steer clear of fear mongering, so they probably warrant some consideration.

    April 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. mitch from ark.

    if obama accepts rove's advice, would he be willing to cross party lines,and give obama his endorsement?rove is probably trying to influence the nomination process,but,who cares?

    April 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Hmm...

    As much as I dislike Rove and his more underhanded tactics (see South Carolina Republican primary, 2000), he does make some astute observations.

    April 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. jimmy vekmen


    April 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. DR

    wow. Welcome aboard, Mr. Rove, those are great suggestions. Did I just write that?

    April 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Stud

    Karl Rove trying to be a Frenemy.....

    April 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Wes

    Some of this is good advice..... But as we all know and Karl Rove knows if he takes his advice now ppl will use it against him!! Seems like some plan to give him the right advice and watch him go down for listening to the enemy. Rove knows the Dems hate him and thats why hes trying to bring down the strongest canidate.

    April 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |

    Ya think Rove would prefer to run against Obama this fall??????????

    April 28, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. gerald strother

    Rove and Fox news has run down Obama time and time again they know the cannot bet him but can could Clinton , for Rove and Fox news, Obama has won and will win it all ,Rove and Fox news get of the air you big dummys"""

    April 28, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Kayla

    Now that HRC is beating McCain in the polls, Karl Rove wants to give Obama some advice. Rove knows that Obama is the easiest one to beat in the general. Wake up Democrats!!!!!!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. YOU FAIL!

    I really doubt that Karl Rove has any room to talk with regards to being out of touch with ordinary Americans. I, for one, am a very ordinary American and quite honestly believe Mr. Rove should shut his

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Where Eagles Fly

    How can a snake teach an eagle? Obama will rise to be one of this country's greatest leaders–and he can't learn from a snake. Let Rove continue to crawl in the dust, while Obama will soar like this country has never seen.

    He will ignore the snake (Rove), the rat (Hillary), and the hawk (McCain), and he will make this country proud.

    Obama 08

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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