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. Jonathan Anderson

    Actually Karl, we Democrats are not at all worried about the fall. It's you and your neocon kooks that should be worried (and I know you are) by your dismal approval ratings. Oh, by the way, your president, you know, boy George, he's achieved a truly remarkable milestone FINALLY during his reign: Worst approval ratings EVAH! Since Gallup began recording them 70 YEARS AGO. WHAT A JOKE YOU ARE. (giggling hysterically)

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. arthur -Boston

    it will take much more than help from a Karl Rove to get many of us to change our minds from Clinton to him. I think that he hasn't the slightest idea or concern about the average working person. He may talk up a storm but his action are like a brief spring shower. Seven and a half years ago Bush talked about changing the same old Washington politics and he was't even from DC. This guy who is part of the Washington politics has about as little experience and talent as Bush except he is a far superior speaker but still and empty bag. We are in too much trouble to repeat with another untested inexperienced person.who is used to votoing "maybe" It's either Clinton or McCain. No time for maybe's in the White house Why these leaders keep endorsing amazes me. They must all want the VP job

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. Lino "Hussein"

    I despise the politics of divisiness of Rove, but I have to say that this piece he wrote is very good. Maybe Rove also wants to see a better America......

    It also makes Rove looks better than Clinton, while Clinton is destroing the Democratic party by bad mouthing Obama using Rovinian tactics, Rove is given good advice for Obama to win....

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Lucky, IA

    I hate to admit it, but that sound like good advice. I think we need to hear another one of Obama's 'straight from the heart' speeches. Obama'08.

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Joe Green

    You know, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    Obama, listen to this guy.

    Stop being Hillary's punching bag.

    Her dispicable tactics WORK for a lot of Americans.

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Bitter American

    Is Rove a secret Obama fan (we know many Republicans and Independents are)? If he is, it would be ironic because it's His playbook that Hillary used to hurt Obama.......

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Teddy

    A wolf giving a sheep advice? Why should Obama listen to his advice?

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. kim nyc

    I can't believe this, but (at least from CNN's post) Karl Rove is making sense. I will forever be an OBAMA supporter, but I can't help but say i have sense a simmering down of that rock stardom.

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. JT

    I'm in the awkward situation of actually agreeing with Rove.

    Lets finish this Obama. Keep your eye on the ball.

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Matt

    I'm sure the support of Karl Rove for Obama will go over well with Democrats. Perhaps, he could seek an endorsement by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-il. The primary just gets better everyday. I'm glad the media does not have more important stories to cover!

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. The American People

    Karl Rove, does it feel good to lie?

    April 28, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Cynthia, Laguna Niguel, CA

    He can tell Oboma anything he want's to tell him. Clinton will still win because she is smarter, more experiance and even the World is ready for a woman U.S.A. President.

    Clinton-08

    April 28, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. joan nicholson

    Someone should smash a Boston cream pie into the fat face of Karl Rove to shut him up.

    April 28, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. Frank F

    That is all we need again is Rove helping another candidate to become the President.

    Rove has done enough damage to America, the first time someone (BUSH) sought his help. Lord please help us!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Grif

    You cannot rebuild a Character. This Character is, Playing a Part in One Old Movie... The Character in that Movie. died year's ago...
    Now you guess the Movie??

    April 28, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. John

    No way. Don't take advice from this guy. If he were so good, he wouldn't be called a war criminal today. Obama, dont' follow what he says... he only wants you to lose.

    April 28, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. D, huntsville, AL

    Despite the opinions of pundits like Karl Rove, Obama has conducted a remarkable campaign. He will not only win the nomination but emerge a stronger candidate this fall. I think it is the Rebuplicans that are really nervous.

    April 28, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. JCB

    I specifically like the advice to spend more time in the senate. Obama does not have enough national and foreign experience, and he plans to depend on his adisors way too much if elected president. George Bush did that too - and we got the Iraq War, a recession, and people making decisions between gas or food. You can nominate him as the Democrat running against McCain, but he can't win.

    April 28, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. Jay Fray

    Well, as a Barack Obama supporter, I must say this statement by Rove is somewhat true. Obama, dont fall for in the mind games of hillary clinton. Be smart, negative politics only works for hillary, not you. She is a pro at this, "She is in her element". Stick to your message, and offer concrete solutions. The majority of America believes in you; dont allow divisive, trivial politics to ruin your chance to win the presidency. You need to take control of this. Hillary will do anything to win the election, you must also do anything but just be smarter and dont go for the obvious low blows. Go for the knockout!you are a better candidate and there are too many reasons as to why Hillary should not be our president. Come on Obama, dont let racist games and negativity from Hill Clinton make you lose your voters. Show her that her fat ankles and pant suits are not good enough for the oval office lol (im joking, I didnt mean that) Cnn dont moderate this forever, please!

    April 28, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. Life

    This is information that the American people NEED to know; this is VITAL to ALL voters. The Clintons are scandalous. There is a case pending RIGHT NOW in CA, it’s a real, legit case Peter Paul vs Clinton. For the skeptics, the case number is : BC304174
    lasuperiorcourt.org

    April 28, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Taylor Richmond Virginia

    if this is why Obama is slipping in the polls, then this country has bigger problems than Obama slipping in the polls.

    April 28, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. Mickey, NY

    Crawl back up into your hole, Turd Blossom, no one cares what you think. When are you just going to disappear?

    April 28, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. Land Rover

    Come November, Rove will be giving the counter-attack to McCain on how to destroy the tips he himself gave Obama. And one-two-three, voila....! McCain is President.

    April 28, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. Jordan

    Rove is a punk.

    April 28, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  25. Vahe

    We all know that Karl Rove is a meaningless creature who is unable to understand such a highly intelligent person as Barack Obama.

    Here is my advice to him (KR): instead of being typical redneck you’d better try to become a Human Being.

    Doctor of Politics
    Vahe Vanesyan

    April 28, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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