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. Daryl from Seattle

    That's it CNN, let's keep on building a false sense of momentum for Hillary Clinton while you continue to paint Obama with as much negative press as you can manage. How much is Hillary paying you guys to ignore her comment about 'obliterating' Iran's 65 million person population, or the fact that she used Bin Laden in a television ad to attack a member of her own party, or that she lied not once, but at least two times about coming under sniper fire in Bosnia, or that her story about the woman dying because she couldn't afford healthcare was not factual or all the way true, or that she tried to tie Obama with a former member of Weather Underground negatively but her husband pardoned two of them controversially upon exiting his presidency. You guys at CNN are despicable! Free press? What's that???

    April 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. Brian

    There is a hidden agenda here. Of course Rove wants Obama to win – because McCain will beat him.


    Wake up America! Read between the lines.

    Go Hillary!

    April 28, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. Dolly,

    Carl Rove needs to shut up

    April 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. David, New York, NY

    Not exactly a guy with lots of credibility at the moment.

    April 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Randy - Denver

    Censored Mr. Obama is an elitist??? Are you really that ignorant? He is from a single parent household that used food stamps, he got into an exclusive school in Hawai'i not because he had money (he did not) but on a scholarship (he had good grades). he got into an Ivy League school, again not because he had money but because he was smart, he and his wife paid back their student loans three years ago because of his books being best sellers. He is in his mid 40s that means that for almost 20 years he has been paying on student loans. Now compare him to "your" candidate, she is from a wealthy family, she NEVER had any student loans, while she "worked" through college the jobs were not required but only because her parents "tried" to teach ehr the value of a dollar, by her own admissing they paid, room, board, tuition she had to pay for books only (and any spending money.. except daddy provided her with a car). She went to a private boarding school, not on a schloarship like Mr. Obama. In other words she has NEVER been down in the dirt with the real people. Is he an elitist because he has learned that there is no reason, if you try hard enough, to be living in a trailer park? No he is simply a better man than you rednecked hillbilly ignorant trailer park trash!

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

    Saying anymore against Wright would cost him the black vote

    Commenting more on what someone did when he was 8 would be pandering and idiotic

    Slapping on a Flag pin is also pandering, and implies that the american people are stupid to believe that one love of this country starts and ends on the lapel. HE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT... some Rove was never patriotic enough to do but he was power hungry enough to manipulate


    April 28, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. MK

    I trust Carl Rove about as far I can pick him and throw him.

    April 28, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |


    April 28, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. VP

    Carl, I hope Obama hears you. I've been saying for the longest time that the Democratic Party needs a Carl Rove. How he was able to help a buffoon like Bush become President of the US was sheer genius!

    April 28, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    I agree with Rove .. but Rove brought us Bush II and probably should be in jail. Why is the media paying him for columns like this?

    April 28, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. The Dude

    "pledge to name specific Republicans to his administration"

    Ron Paul!


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

    Carl Rove can not change the facts. Obama leading our country is like allowing my 10 year old to drive me from Ohio to California. I think many people would agree experience is a must! Trusting Rove belongs to the other party!!!

    April 28, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  13. Ray

    It seems that Obama inspired Carl too, lol

    April 28, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. UnPatriotic

    The Republicans dream would be the nomination of Hillary Clinton, so Rove was probably looking at ways to have Obama lose the nomination.

    April 28, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. Jodie from Idaho

    Seriously! Obama is not the media darling, everyone in America is a media darling. The media wants to play this thing out as long as possible. As I used to watch CNN, they were supporting Obama and everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Now the media does not want this story to end, and you are all buying it. They are saying bad things about Obama and good things about Clinton so this race will just continue. Think for yourselves. Don't let other people push their agenda on you. If you think Hillary will make the best president based on the facts then vote for her. I for myself have looked at the facts. Hillary is the kind of person who lacks a conscience. Her and her husband have done a lot of illegal and immoral things to get ahead, and that is not the kind of person I want to be my president. Obama was raised in a single family home, he worked hard to get a law degree, he could of went off to be a judge, but he chose to work hard to try and improve our government. He has been involved in 0 scandals and the republicans are digging the bottom of the barrell just to find something bad about him. You think Obama is unelectable because of all the crap the republicans are making up, just wait until they start to bring the skeletons out of the Clinton's closet and see what happens.

    April 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Jon

    I'm a Clinton supporter, but I nevertheless wish Rove would stay out of Democrat affairs. It seems to me his intentions aren't to help Obama win, but rather to expose and rehash every flaw in the Senator's campaign without having to contextualize them or submit Obama's reactions to the events or explanations as to why his campaign is operating as it is. I believe Rove is trying to weaken him further in a very underhanded (but brilliant) way. And even as a Clinton supporter, I wish he'd stop. But that's just how I read it.

    April 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Christopher Coleman

    Please dig further into the "Operations Chaos" fiasco. It is certain that it is occurring and can be detected by how many Democrats move back to Republicans after the elections or held. This is true of Texas, Ohio, and Tennessee. It has the prospects of occurring both in Indiana and North Carolina. The idea is to stretch the Democratic Primary as long as possible so as to destroy their candidacy between themselves. They would rather face Hillary than Obama because of his unknown qualities, but they know Hillary's weaknesses. Please do your homework.

    April 28, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  18. UnPatriotic

    The only thing Hillary's entitled to is finishing the primaries and caucuses , we'll let voters decided the rest.

    April 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. Allan

    Why isn't Karl Rove in prison?

    April 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. Peter

    Thanks Katina from Conn.
    Beutifully Written.

    April 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Tom

    Unless the democratic party and it's superdelegates are totally off their rocker, Obama won't make it to the fall. He will not win – he can't with that closet so full. I remarked after Texas and Ohio, when Hillary offered up the vice president position to him and he smirked while refusing it, that he should have taken it because he would never win – his closet would get him and sure enough.......
    Frankly, I'd be shocked if he made it back into the senate – if I were the republican party, I'd be more than ready to challenge him for that seat. As it is, he pretty much stole it anyway. Time for him to give it back.

    April 28, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. PCS / North Carolina

    Barb Canada wrote April 28th, 2008 5:31 pm ET

    "I agree he needs help….you can only hear the exact same stump speech before you start begging for CHANGE! New Pennsylvani tally has Hillary back up to the 10 % margine of victory 54.6 Clinton 45.4 Obama, and if you know how to round off thats 10 %"

    Barb, Obama would not stand a chance in Canada. He would certainly be the DNC nominee, and being a minority candidate, that is only possible in our wonderfull country.

    April 28, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. Ron Larson

    You dem's are in a bind, and are falling behind rapidly. You have one candidate that will never see moderates swing her way, because of the numerous lies and corruption that surrounds both of the Clinton's, and make no mistake, McCAin is going to be running against Slick Willy and his surrogate. Not only that if Obama "loses" the DNC nomination, the young voters, and black voters willstay away. If Obama wins, and we can presume rightly hie will take thenomination, John McCain's character, experience, military hero status will launch him into the White House. Wait til you se who he picks for a Veep. Neither Clinton not Obama will be able to persuade anyone with much credential or name recognition to overcome either the Governor of Minnesota or Florida in that role. Who in their right mind would ajoin themself to Hillary and Bill again. Al Gore's mother warned him to "Stay away from that Billy Clinton." Look what happened to him. The person who runs alongside of Obama is going to find it difficult after a contnetious fight to articulate why their are the best ticket. Thank you DNC, Howard Dean, Bill and Hillary for continuing to dismantle yourselves and help the RNC win another presidential election.

    McCain/ Pawleny 2008!

    April 28, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  24. Yes, he is right

    Yes. Carl Rove is right. That is what happens to a candidate with no experience. It is just like any ball game, you may score very good in the begining, but in play-offs who can stay longer without foul trouble wins the match. Same in politics. You need experience to stay out of trouble.

    April 28, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  25. Dwight

    Obama, just pack it in while you still look a little bit good.

    If you wait much longer, the people wiil see the REAL OBAMA, & I do't think that you want the people to see the real side of you.

    April 28, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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