July 31st, 2008
09:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama camp says McCain tactics worse than Rove's


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/31/art.karl.gi.jpg caption="Obama's campaign said the latest McCain ad is beyond Karl Rove's playbook."](CNN) - Few names inspire more of a heated reaction among Democrats than Karl Rove, and Barack Obama’s campaign is making a concerted effort Thursday to link the former Bush advisor to John McCain's presidential campaign.

On a campaign conference call with reporters responding to the Arizona senator's latest television ad, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said the spot is worse than anything Rove would have developed.

"This is not the John McCain voters thought they would be seeing in this presidential campaign," Plouffe said. "He's not just embracing the Rove playbook that people really are tired of, he's taking it to a further extreme."

Those comments came only hours after Plouffe circulated a fundraising e-mail to supporters in which he said McCain's campaign had taken a "nasty turn” with its "Karl Rove-style ploy."

"This Karl Rove-style ploy misleads people about Barack's energy plan and even mocks his ability to inspire voters and bring Americans back into the political process," Plouffe wrote in the e-mail.

The television ad in question compares Obama's celebrity status to that of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and questions whether the Illinois senator is "ready to lead." Obama dismissed the ad as "game playing" Thursday while McCain said he was "proud of it."

Watch: McCain ad compares Obama to Paris Hilton, Britney Spears

Rove has no official role with the McCain campaign, though Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser in charge of the day-to-day message, was a longtime protégé of Rove's.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra • John McCain • Karl Rove
soundoff (497 Responses)
  1. jason, tx

    Yup. The McCain campaign is gutter trash. I can't wait to get our new President Obama gets installed.

    July 31, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. Dr. J

    I think McCain is taking the low road and it is going to hurt him. He told the American people that he would talk about issues and not attack the oponent. He is doing the exact opposite and it is going to cost him.

    July 31, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |

    Anyone heard of Michelle O or Rev Wright lately ? C'mon Senator, unleash Michelle. Don't hold her back against her will. And explain the kind of churchgoer you are when you didn't know for decades that your Church was used as a pulpit for racism and hate .

    July 31, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. Sheople yes, people no so much.

    More than 90% of African Americans are voting for Obama- a candidate with no track record, no accomplishments and no experience.

    What criteria ARE they using then, if NOT race?

    Obama first played the race card on Bill Clinton after SC- it worked and he has been slicing and dicing and dividing Americans with the judicious use of allegations of racism ever since.

    He is losing MUCH of the early NON- African American support he enjoyed.

    We are tired of being called racists when we disagree with Obama. And we are tired of his dividing the Country by fueling race tensions.

    His African American supporters are vile in methodology , vulgar in language, crude in thinking, and reverse-racists in ideology.

    July 31, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. gail

    what a sad day for our democracy when mean spirited right wing conservatives with spokespeople like rush limbaugh, sean hannity and mark levine get away with spending hours and hours drumbeating hate into the minds of Americans – it is obvious that mccain has given his campaign over to these propagandists and hate mongerers. they are the ones calling the shots here –
    mccain would rather be contribute to the decline of intelligent debate which is the foundation of our American democracy than lose this election. he has sold his soul.
    I will pray for America.

    July 31, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Frank

    McNasty is a bitter old man. The best choice for Peace, Prosperity, and Hope in America is Barack Obama. Bitter old McBush offers only Death, Destruction, and Despair.

    Obama '08

    July 31, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. nate

    Its not that the ad is worse, its that its more stupid. Karl Rove, evil genius that he is, would never have produced such a silly ad. He would have come up with something much more effective.

    July 31, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  8. Monica, Texas

    Obviously with the "race card" comment put out by the McCain camp they wanted this to be a distraction on how bad the "celeb" ad is..You can tell how McCain was sooooooo uncomfortable when questioned by John King today...McCain words said one thing but his body language said something else

    July 31, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Marc PDX

    I'd say that Obama's campaign doesn't like what they're seeing in the poll numbers and they're starting to react to that. Maybe this Skybarocket is starting to run out of Barocket fuel on this continent.


    July 31, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Michigan for Obama

    When you don't have a good candidate with sound policies or vision for the country to "sell" the only thing left is negative advertising against the competition...I truly believe the only thing that can prevent Obama from being elected is if McCain keeps playing to US citizens that believe anything they hear without checking FACTS...they are counting on the country to be more racist than we want to believe (as the Clinton's were hoping for)...

    I also truly believe if the country could look at each candidate by their factual policy and vision proposals ...not age nor race...Obama would still win.

    60 year old white woman

    July 31, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. Wendy

    To Carl Rove and his croneys " NOT THIS TIME"!

    July 31, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  12. An American

    Nothing is worse than Rove tactics, oh wait Rove IS advising John McCain whether he will admit or not.

    July 31, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. plb

    It is obvious that our tax payer dollars have been good to Rove, the proof is hanging under his neck. To bad he eats like a king, and our senior have to choose between dog food (for their food) or the expense of buying life living medication or heating and cooling their homes.

    July 31, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. Michael McDermit

    You have to ask "Where are the charges of 'arrogance' about Obama coming from?" Do people cite anything he's said? Is it the way he acts? I don't recall anybody quoting anything he's said or describing any way he acts that point to this charge. Instead, I think it's a form of crypto-racism from people who cannot believe an Aftican-American can speak so eloquently and is so well educated. I think some cannot logically come to terms with an articulate black American and reoncile it with the usual portrayals of black rappers, gangstas, athletes, etc. Knowing that Obama is better educated, probably more intelligent and well spoken causes a disconect in many minds. While not consciously racist, it is at least latent. It is a subtle form of the "uppity (nword)" used in the past when any black man "forgot his place in the society" It's too bad, but at least we can call people on it.

    July 31, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  15. Rodney LA

    Well let's get Rove involved if McCain is worse than he is. Maybe Rove can get the real truth out on Michelle and Barack and their phony land deals in Chicago.

    July 31, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Frank Canada

    Don't ask Steve Schmidt anything 'cause he'll claim executive privilage right Karl.

    July 31, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. Peter (CA)

    I support Obama all the way but this is not the way to go, guys.
    Let's leave the spectre of Karl Rove out of it for now. Just criticize what they are doing now and say why it is wrong.

    July 31, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. Sean

    How funny! First the Obama camp asks if this is the best that they can fire at them. And now, they are saying it's worse than Karl Rove? Ok, which is it Obama camp?

    The Obama camp is just upset because their lead is slipping and the Democrats aren't unifying around them like the GOP is around McCain. They are worried. Would you like some cheese to go with that whine?

    McCain '08!

    July 31, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  19. rev

    Rove, Bush, McCain, Rumsfeld, Rice, DeLay, Cunningham, Stevens... so many Republican crooks, so little justice....

    July 31, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  20. paul oregon

    mccain may well regert his going negitave in his campain it makes him look cheap pathic loser that he is. just like bush. it is very sad when mccain has to tear his oppent down to make him self look good in his mind. it would be interesting to hear how mccain explans
    why cindy mccain company is doing business in cuba.

    cnn that could be a good news story ????????

    July 31, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Alan Boyer

    There is no depth to deep for McCain to go to try to win the election. This is the closest he's ever been. And he will do whatever he thinks it will take to prevent being the person who lost to a black man. That will be recorded in the history books.

    July 31, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Danny from OH

    Watch out KARL. Congress is coming for you

    July 31, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. Roy

    Obama needs Karl Rove for his VP >.> at least then he might be known for something OTHER than acting like a president that isnt a president.

    July 31, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. Danny from OH

    Is Karl growing too old or its just my eyes?

    July 31, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  25. Dave Ramoski

    It works because the McCain camp knows that the majority of voters in America are basically silly. To compare someone who has inspired so many people to Paris hilton and Britney Spears is so silly and shallow. All I hear is attack, attack, and even more attacks. Okay, so we know McCain thinks Obama is a useless good for nothing candidate. My question is, what is McCain good for? What is he going to do?

    Anyway, these kind of attack ads just tells me that McCain have absolutely no respect for the voters.

    July 31, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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