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. James, Houston

    Sure, Karl Rove knows all the Tricks; mostly thru THEFT.
    Karl can get YOU OBAMA, at least 30 yrs in the Slammer.
    However, G.W. Bush may lessen the Charges ala Scooter Libby; But Geroge will be LONG GONE ! Don't let the door hit You !

    April 28, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. Tim from Eugene OR.

    Its like taking advise from Eddie Haskell from leave it to Beaver! Republicans see this as their chance to finish off the democratic party. If they can just make the super delegates nervous enough to steal the nomination from Obama, then the party will be split forever. They only need about 4 more years to totally destroy whats left of our government. ( they didn't quite steal the social security money yet and there is still billions to take from the treasurery for Iraq. Wake up America! Hillary and clan have been meeting with the same people that tried to accuse her husband of murder back in the 90's Don't forget about the fundraiser that Murdock held on her behalf earlier in the year. This time they are appealing to the fear of a black man and it will work if you let it.


    April 28, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. Joel Dean

    It appears Mr. Rove just can't stop giving advice. Is he trying to say go vote for Hilary because you need to spend more time in the Senate
    and in the same breath saying you will almost certainly win the nomination.

    I just can't see Rove giving advice to a Democrat that would be trusted., unless it's some secret message to rile the Republicans to vote, if Hilary wins the nomination.

    Send this one to the jury, beyond a reasonable doubt Obama fails. He has to many what-if's we don't know about. At least with Hilary you know where bags are packed.

    April 28, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. Alice

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

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

    Me too !

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

    The real problem is that by his response to Wright and 'bittergate' that Obama showed his intelligence too much. He responded in an intelligent thoughtful way instead of knee-jerk - to highbrow by far to be understood by the bulk of the public. They're more interested in who would match their conversation level with a beer in their living room. How else do you think we got W as President twice already?

    April 28, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. Ken

    The only time Mr. Rove isn't lying is when he isn't speaking or writing!

    April 28, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Jerry

    Someone show karlbuncle the door................

    April 28, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. No Hillary

    Thanks for the advice Rove but I am wondering if you were that smart how comes you couldn't secure your own position within Bush administration....

    April 28, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. hrp

    Rove needs to keep his suggestions to himself...The last thing Obama needs is advice from this jerk...And what's the motive for all the advice anyway?...It's certainly not a fondness for anything Obama.

    April 28, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. david

    Yes Rove, Fineman and Richard Wolf (Newsweek buddies) along with their buddies at msnbc-Mathews and Obermann and Russert they all gang bang Hillary Clinton every night and it is like a witch hunt. oh I forgot wasn't it Gregory who was also Rove's dancing partner on stage one time.
    and they think just because they attack Hillary every day that American people would listen to them and and go along with their boy coronation of barack hussein Obama.

    American people are not stupid, we see what the big media is doing to stop the 1st woman president of the free world getting elected.

    April 28, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. Carmen

    Who cares what this poor excuse of a man says?

    April 28, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Annamica, OH


    April 28, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. Willy

    A rent a preacher has derailed Obama's chances. Priceless!

    April 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. A. Pinto

    There is a growing concern on Sen. Clinton's alleged affair with her aid Ms. Huma Abedin. It was on tabloids over the weekend and in the internet all over. I would like to know whether it is true or not. This is fundamental to her values and what she stands for. There is nothing wrong with it. But I think the American people should to know the truth.

    April 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. Pam

    What's wrong Karl, do you miss being in the news?

    April 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. Fay (the Young Texan who voted for Obama)

    Why don't we ask the NON-politicians how to win. If I were Mr. Obama, I wouldn't take any advice from an politician. I'm young and I NEVER want to be in politics after seeing how this political BS machine has played out and tried to destroy a good man's character. If Clinton or McCain gets into office, you can count out young Americans ever voting again!

    April 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Chris from San Antonio

    No, thank you, Rove.

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. J.Winn MA

    Just what every Candidate needs a Load a Fresh Cow Dung from a Roving Red Bull who really knows how to Fling It ! Cow Pies Anyone?

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. JJ

    This doesn't sound like Rove is telling Obama how to win. Instead he's criticized everything Obama has done so far.

    Did you listen to Obama last night? He never said he was friends with Ayer but an aquaintance who sat on the same board.

    The only Rove told him was to repudiate the comments that Rev Wright said in those sound bites. Geez!!

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. Fighting back

    He need to be aggressive and fight back...
    One sniper fire add and Hillary is gone

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. B positive

    I listened to Wright's entire speech last night. He is now injecting race into music theory by suggesting whites emphasize counts 1&3 and blacks emphasize 2&4. Wright states that whites tell blacks they are clapping wrong because of this difference in music theory. Could this man be anymore divisive? Leave it to Wright to make sheet music the newest racial divide. This man has set back racial relations about 50 years! Retire Already!!

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  22. GS

    CLEARLY, Rove is advising Obama that he truly is not ready to run for this type of Office. He tells him to "go back to the Senate and legislate more...".

    That about says it all!

    He praises his message early in the campaign, but he doesn't have the specifics to carry this through. He needs more seasoning.

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  23. White/female/age 55/Texan

    This is Rove at his best. i.e., same ole' dirty politics. He is trying to stir up fears and doubts about Obama because he is very worried that Obama will win the nomination. It's not going to work this time. We are done with this. I renounced and changed my party in 2006. (Until then, I had been a life long Republican.)

    Obama '08 ~ Can't Wait

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  24. Blackout

    Get ready for the next "American Blackout 2008"! It doesn't matter which democrat wins the primaries. He/she will lose in November because African American votes will not be counted!

    For some reasons you democrates forgot black communities will have less voting machines causing blacks to wait 4-6 hours to vote( if there vote gets counted at all)

    Go to you youtube and search for American blackout

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. Jim

    Now were talking! Hillary, watch out. Rove has been in your closet, and dirty laundry...Look out!!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
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