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. George

    only 300 more delegates to go Obama, you are our nominee!

    April 28, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Joseph Claghorn

    I hate to say it, but I couldn't agree more with Carl Rove. As an Obama supporter, I've found him ever since Wisconsin to have moved from an inspiring orator, to someone who is mumbling through the lines. He needs to reignite his base, who will in turn be energized to bring others into the campaign. I still tune in to his stump speach every now and then, but it is tired and worn. For starters, get rid of the line "we call them Obamicans...there's one right there..."

    April 28, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  3. Jean

    Your doing Great Obama, Keep up the good work and make them sweat.

    April 28, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  4. Ted, Washington DC

    Beyond repair.

    April 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. kendra

    First, I am going to say Barack does need help and support. He needs to tell America that Rev. Wright has retired and is no longer his pastor. You have so many catholics that have gone to a parrish that their preist has done bad things to children. do you ask them to leave that parrish? NO. People only played selected parts of speaches, not even the whole sentence. Are you electing a pastor or a president.
    Second, Barack needs to spend more time in the urban (black folks )area. He is taking our vote for granted. Like black people are dumb enough to vote for somebody based on race. NOT. And for me he is mulatto not black. He needs to spend time on what he is going to do for the country not who can he denounce today.

    April 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Bushwacked

    And we trust Karl Rove....why?

    Eugene, OR

    April 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |

    Barack has nothing to worry about, this thing has been over
    since Super Tuesday, period. Hillary has NEVER been ahead
    since after that.

    And there is one metric that nobody's talking about much, and
    it shows just how much Hillary Clinton is being rejected.

    The people who worked with The Clintons, who actually know
    them best, much better than anybody else, are deserting her
    in droves, joining up with Obama. You don't see any of Obama's
    former co-workers or ex-friends deserting him for her.

    I trust Robert Reich's judgement, and Bill Richardson, and many
    other people like this.


    April 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. Seth McFarlane

    It seems obvious to me that the tide is turning and people are realizing that a vote for Obama is in the end a vote for McCain...Hilary is much more likely to win a contest against McCain. I'm all for Hilary but if Obama wins the nomination I would vote for McCain.
    Obama is nothing but hot air.

    April 28, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. Vanessa

    I say Obama should let Clinton have the nomination. That way she can continue the plans her husband began to completely screw the American people. Middle America has obviously not learned their lesson about getting bamboozled by charm instead of substance. Hillary and Carville talk like third grade bullies "Meet Me in Ohio;" "run from this..." and middle America eats it up. So let them dig their own grave. Maybe when Ohio, Pennsylvania and the like grow up we can have a country that rivals Europe for taking care of its citizens and living peacefully with its neighbors. Hopefully, it won't be too late fifty years from now.

    April 28, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Why???

    With all due respect, why does CNN continue to give air time to these types of irrelavant side shows that does even help the American people make an informative choice in the election. Our society on a whole is on a total decline as a result of the poor choices we have embraced over the last few years with politician constantly telling lies and serving their personal interest. Please keep the people more properly inform with unbiase and relevant informantion.

    April 28, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. orlando

    Now Obama can really use Rove's play book to play politics. Mr. Obama, please let us know who you really are.

    Florida for Hillary.

    April 28, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. LOUCAL

    Carl Rove is finally getting the idea that Hillary Clinton may win and he is having nightmares about it. He is actually thinking that Obama might listen to him. Rove is a brilliant psychopath who has taken this country down the road to ruin and has led "Dull Prince W" around by the nose for years. Can you imagine Rove, Cheney, Delay and the other Republican criminals around the November election watching Hillary stomp McCain? Eight years of Republican rule is enough. What worries me is that I am expecting a country that once had Roseanne and the Dukes of Hazzard as the number one TV show to demonstrate some common sense. Time will tell.

    April 28, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Democrat now IND

    basically the far right is helping him to be the nominee because they will have a sweep in Nov.

    April 28, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  14. Arthur-Texas

    I felt this coming a long time ago,that the Republicans would rather face Obama in the general election than Hillary.
    He is perceived as a weak candidate and has no defense against what they will throw at him.
    Hillary can stand toe to toe with Mccain because she has seen all of this before and being a tougher candidate will not be destroyed as Obama will be,being the weaker candidate.

    April 28, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. Rob- BC Canada

    Wolf , the one who seems to have the biggest problem with Rev Wright is your program and its fear of losing ratings by speaking to the legitimate issues that face America.Foreclosures,gas prices,Iraq,jobs and real change.Wag the dog.

    April 28, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. Tanis

    Rove just makes me want to puke my guts out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Your my President Mrs. Clinton–ideas, stength and complete determination.

    April 28, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. Thy

    As much as I hate rove, he made a couple good points.

    April 28, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |

    CLINTON can only be the nominee to beat all Republicans. The CLINTON MACHINE is the strongest campaign system every. I actually worship the CLINTON. I am a true CLINTONITE. If they don't win...I don't know what I will do. If it wasn't for BILL CLINTON, america would have failed.


    April 28, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. JS

    Rove and the Republican's have always wanted Obama to get the nomination – they knew they would win in the general election against Obama!

    Why do you think FOX kept the Wright story quiet until after it was too late for Hillary to catch him in elected delegates!

    The Democrats played right into their hands – now if the super delegates back Hillary – all heck will break loose and the party will be split !

    FOX's plan to get McCain elected will only work if the Democrats self -destruct!

    April 28, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. jane

    Karl Rove, Bush didn't win on your advise; he won by stealing votes.

    April 28, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. GoHillary

    Matt – I'm sure Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-il endorse BO already.

    April 28, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. P Wu

    Karl Rove's technique: cheat and steal.

    April 28, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  23. kim

    Some good advice. However after watching Rev. Wrights speech to the NAACP. I can see why Obama enjoyed his sermons. I am a middle aged white police officer and I found Rev. Wrights speech to be brilliant, insightfull and inspiring. I urge everone to find this speech and listen to it in it's entirety. It will change your mind about this man and turn you off to the intolerant comments of Hillary, McCain, Limbaugh and Beck.

    April 28, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  24. Richard, FL

    Obama is ahead BECAUSE he is the opposite of Rove. We don't need to add more slimey tactics to this race.

    April 28, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. Slowpoke

    This article is just a rehash of a lot of negative Rove commentary. He didn't tell Obama how to win. What is with the stupidity, CNN?

    April 28, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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