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. Callie, PDX, OR

    I am shocked that McCain said he was proud of the ad. I didn't expect to read that at the end your report. Wow. That is terribly low and certainly the kind of nasty politics that makes me run from a candidate. I consider candidates who stoop that low to lack the character I want in my president.

    It disappoints me that McCain would say something like that – and I thought I liked the guy. I'm voting for Obama anyway, but still liked McCain until now.

    July 31, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  2. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    It frightens me that the Obama camp can be so kind to Karl Rove. There was nothing evil or rude about the ad. The problem stems from the Obama campaign thinking it akin to heresy to point out any character flaws of the Great Obama. Ego and image may have been a little hurt, but Obama should take time for self-reflection when he is falling in the polls, just to ask himself "Why?"

    Could it be your elitist, celebrity status?

    July 31, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. Ken

    Well what else should we have expected? McCain has Bush's re-election team calling the shots. You can bet that Rove is behind the scenes.

    July 31, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  4. barry

    what a terrible disappointment John McCain has become...his campaign is the epitome of nasty politics and verifies that he represents the same old politic...he must be defeated

    July 31, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Tim

    The ugliest aspect of these republican ( banana ) attack dog tactics is the insult they hurl to the intelect of the American voter. They heap lies upon lies, distort the record, use subversive means to place fear and insecurity in the minds and emotions of the electorate. They believe this to work because they think the voter is ignorant and won't take the time to check the facts and call them out on it. Well, times have changed, and I believe this wiil backfire as voters realize that McCain is not practicing what he preached about taking the " high road ". He has hired Rove hatchet people and has lived up to his Naval Academy nickname of " McNasty " and punk.

    July 31, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Loretta from California

    Well did I not say this would happen. The best GOP tactic.....Lies, Lies and more Lies. I also said that I was waiting for the Big one, The Lie of all Lies. There is nothing that they will not do to remain in power.

    Democrats Unite!!!

    July 31, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. Observer

    John McCain and his staff are running scared. That's why we're seeing the desperate tactics they are employing. My thinking is they'll keep this trashing strategy going until they see that there is a backlash against them for being so heavy-handed and negative. After all, do the American people really want a tongue-wagging, red-faced, finger pointing, angry old man leading the country? Kind of like having your mean old uncle Wilbur for president.

    July 31, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. Barb

    It amazes me that people can think a man who is as digustingly wealthy as John McCain is "just one of us." Didn't we see what happened a few years ago when we voted for the "good ole boy" we'd like to have a beer with? If you can't win fair and square, you give it what you've got . . . even if it's nothing but lies. Everyone says McCain is better than this. I GUESS NOT!!!
    It's time to put someone in the oval office who has more brains than brawn . . . someone who thinks before he acts . . . and someone who isn't too pig headed to listen to other people who might have some intelligent ideas.
    I have no misconceptions about the American people . . . we have been duped before and it looks like negative campaigning just might work again. And let's not underestimate the influence of the television news media who know exactly what side their bread is buttered on.

    July 31, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. dustin

    Between mccain's wife, who is an old version of paris hilton (blonde heiress who inherited her money), and his daughter who hangs out with the likes of heidi from the hills, you would think mccain would keep quiet about empty headed blondes.

    July 31, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. Jan Illinois

    Karl Rove is junk!!!!! Always was and always will be.

    July 31, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  11. TheTruthHurts

    Being worse than Rove is hard to do. I don't think the Obama camp should protest at all. The media will do it for him. He needs to never be seen whining.

    July 31, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  12. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Obama, just like McCain and other American politicians, is transparent. George W. Bush, who is NOT my favorite president, did not fly off the handle yelling, "Off with their heads! Off with their heads!" every time someone took a verbal swipe at him. He endured it with great restraint and good natured humor.

    Obama can learn something from Bush: don't get so emotional! Calm down! If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. It takes a village to produce an idiot.

    July 31, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  13. An Independent Hillary

    Poor Obama! It is kind of true what McCain says about celebrity. Very ironic. Still won't vote for McCain though. Don't want to vote for Obama either.

    Obama = BATMAN
    McCain = THE JOKER (Jack Nicholson version)

    July 31, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. Vig

    Boo hoo. What a cry baby this Obama is. Everytime there is a criticism he whines, This guy is a leader? No, like most ego-driven types, they can't take the heat.

    July 31, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  15. jake

    Truthfully, John McCain is so fortunate that Obama is black and this is why the presidential race is so closed, few whites realized the fact that the country is in some serious trouble and see Obama as a potential candidate why the rest of them are still holding up to the old white man believe that a black man can never be the president of America, it is a clear fact, they do not care if the country is destroy or not, they're just going for McCain cause he's white.

    jake, from winnipeg, Canada.

    July 31, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  16. Nick Trippel

    I find it very curious that the McCain camp is dismissing Obama by comparing him to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Given that both Paris and Britney are allegedly Republicans, the actual message seems to be, "Obama's as flakey as us!"

    Perhaps the McCain campaign ought to consider hiring a fact checker...

    July 31, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Independent_me

    Poor old McBush! Seems like senility is setting in! He is forgetting that his name is "John" and not "George"! The REAL John McCain got lost somewhere along the lines and he morphed into GW!

    If McCain is confused about who he is....we should be scared...very scared if he becomes the next President...

    July 31, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. P. D.

    How can enyone top the odoius Rove? McCain's coming close though. I never thought anoyne could best the Turd Blossom. Let's see what magical tricks McCain pulls out of his hat.

    July 31, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  19. Northwest Washington

    Simple math equation:

    Rove + G.W.Bush = McCain.

    If you like whats going on in America today use this equation and you answer will be 4 more years of the same, but on steroids.

    July 31, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  20. Diana Ewing NJ

    McCain's campaign is smelling of Rove.... Karl Rove doesn't have to have an official title to do his stuff.. McCain is a Big Disappointment..

    Many messages were sent in that ad... Foriegn oil..... comparing him to two young Blonde women who have had run in with the law.. drugs and alcohol.... This is the real John McCain and I wish Media would stop making excuses for him..

    July 31, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. Steve Harrison

    What bothers me the most is you folks on the far left don't get the message. So I'll explain it real slow. the point that is being made is that sen. Obama is in experienced just like miss Britny and Paris thier lack of experience has led them to make mistake after mistake with thier own lives can we afford someone with inexperience to make the right decissions for our country.Jeesh figures an Idependant would have to spell it out for you

    July 31, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. Darryl Miller

    Let go on a diet to void the fat..

    July 31, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  23. Christine

    Oh, boo hoo Obama. If you can't take it, then go back to Chicago.

    July 31, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  24. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Go home, John.

    My friend.

    July 31, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |

    This is so true! McCain even stating the term "race card" is a joke!

    July 31, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
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