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. Chris - Hemet, Ca.

    That's actually fairly good advice from Rove but........Obama has the lead in all catagories and will most likely win in N. Carolina, Oregon, Montana and S. Dakota and will probably be close to Clinton in Indiana, if not win there. Chairman Dean stated that after June 3 one of the candidates must step down. I suspect that even if Obama clearly leads in all catagories and has the majority of super delegates Clinton will still refuse to step down. What then? Do the party bosses insist she step down? I personally feel that even if Obama clearly leads that Clinton will take the Florida/Michigan debacle to the courts and create even more divisive distraction and damage to the party.

    April 28, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. New Yorker

    Rove belongs in jail not on political arena. Best Obama can do is to ignore this snake. I hope someone goes after that criminal after bush is out of the office and can’t protect these thieves.

    April 28, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. John

    Karl Rove is a good man.He has let down a lot of Democrats who wanted to be great and succesfull in their careers? Guess what! Obama is being lured into the Karl Rove camp to be trained on how to win the presidential contest between Hillary and him (King Obama).Ok Obama bite the trick and end up a loser in all aspects of the election within the Democrats and the Republicans!

    April 28, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. American Girl

    Thank You Katina for your service.

    I wish that more returning soldiers would chime in on this election.

    April 28, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. yemi

    I believe Obama will win this race, he is meant to win and he will win.
    While people are bringing up Rev Wright's issue why can't them bring up former President's Clinton Monica Scandal, I believe bill Clinton is closer to Hilary than Rev. Wright is to Obama

    This is not fare at all

    April 28, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. John S.

    It is time for us to have a meaningful debate on who are the presidential candidates and what they stand for. There is a growing debate on Sen. Clintons alleged affair with her aid Ms. Huma Abedin. I would like to know whether it is true or not. This is fundamental to our values as Americans. There is nothing wrong with it. But I think the American people deserve to know the truth.

    April 28, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. SLIM



    OBAMA 08

    April 28, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Ted

    I sure wish Newsweek would stop paying for that traitor Rove to say anything. I don't care what he thinks, he confirmed that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative with Mr. Novak and flat out told the reporter from Time magazine that she was an operative. He should be in jail for treason during a time of war, not being paid to give his opinion in a national magazine.

    April 28, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Mary

    Karl Rove is sooooo generous. NOT!!!

    This is like making a pact with the devil himself. Don’t walk away from this guy. Run!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Mack

    Hillary is by Far the Best Democratic Candidate.

    April 28, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Raphael Tx

    Rove pointed out the obvious, Jerimiah Wright and Barack Obama are one in the same. Wright beleives the U.S. Govt invented AIDS to infect black America while Barack beleives small town Americans are bitter and cling to guns,religion and hatred.
    How can Obama distance himself from Wright when he praches the same ideology. Barack has listened and praised Jerimiah Wright for 20 years and even game him a position on his campaign. Its way too late and I hope democrats are noticing what is to come IF Obama is our nominee. We will lose if Obama is the Democratic Nominee.

    April 28, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Nice Try buster

    If (Porkey) rove is so smart and is in touch with the people, why doesn't he take his own advice and run for office? You are just full of hot air and the media is hyping this creep up as if he has some kind of knowledge that no one else has. If you are so wise why don't you step up to the plate and see how fast you will be destroyed.

    April 28, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Patty

    Obama has said and I just read this in an email sent to me and heard of this several times now. "We live in the greatest nation in the world, and I am going to change it". Again, my question is, "what does he mean by change? What is he going to change it to?" Those are two very good questions.

    April 28, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. Tyrone Brown, Seattle, WA


    Reminds of the New Testament story when, after Christ fasted for forty days and nights, the devil appeared and tempted him. The devil, in this case, may have some seemingly sound advice, but it may need to be taken with a grain of salt...or maybe a whole bowl of salt if you ask me. I wonder if he would of said the same thing to Bill Clinton in '92?

    Obama '08

    Tyrone Brown
    Seattle, WA

    April 28, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. The Active Skeptic

    If Barack Obama is denied the nomination because of his former pastor's comments (WHO SPEAKS THE TRUTH BY THE WAY), I WILL NOT VOTE!!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. Sure

    Well he got Bush elected.....twice.

    April 28, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. Marshall in Nebraska

    Just ask Hillary, sometimes you have to dance with the Devil.

    That was good advice. Please heed.

    No More Clintons Please America.

    I'll vote McCain before I vote Clinton.

    April 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. fred

    Rove just hates the thought of the Republicans running against Clinton...they know Obama is an easy target!!

    Rove knows that the Republicans will win easily against Obama.

    April 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Cynthia

    I think the Republicans actually would rather face Senator Clinton. They have so much information on her that Senator Obama as a fellow Democrat would not dare use because of that and no matter what opinion you all may have of him my instinct tells me that he is an upstanding and honorable person.

    April 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. Donna

    Nothing Karl Rove ever does is sincere. This can not be taken at face value. He's doing what he can to undermine the Democrats. The only good advice to Obama is to keep being Obama. Don't play their reindeer games.

    April 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. Sherylanne

    Obama's 15 minutes of fame are over and Karl Rove just made it happen faster.

    Clinton 08

    April 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. travis

    wow, i never thought i'd agree with rove.

    April 28, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. BL Gardner

    To, Barb Canada butt out, this is our election.

    April 28, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Ron

    After watching Rev Wright. Sen Obama is so similar to him. They both even have the same styles. Actually all this comes to light now. And why was Sen Obama playing the race card. Now that everything is in the open. There is so much of panic in the Obama camp and the people are understanding what a preacher he was.

    Please atleast tell Rev Wright to go away coz you are making it worse everytime he opens his mouth.

    April 28, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Roger B from Portland, OR

    God...I agree with Rove on some of those...I think I need a shower!

    April 28, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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