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. K of TX

    I'm soooo tired of these kind of Republicans. I'm positive even some Republicans are as well. They do this to get the American people distracted from the very real challenges facing us everyday! Then, after they play us like fools, the get in office and it's a smash-and-grab job.

    One Question:


    Time for REAL CHANGE.

    Obama '08, '12

    July 31, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. Michelle

    CNN .. why do you now allow my posts even when there IS NOBODY ELSE POSTING ??

    July 31, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. Vicky

    I had a Fox News flashback on CNN tonight when Tara Wall said that only "Hollywood liberals" donated to Obama's campaign. I have happily contributed lots of money to Obama's campaign – money that I could not afford most of the time, and that comment has no place on a CNN news program – what are you thinking to allow that kind of journalism? I guess Carl Rove politics have filtered into your choice of journalists.

    July 31, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. kathleen young

    to ms walls:
    the money for sen obamas campaign is coming from people like me, a retired grandmother on a fixed income. i spent last sunday registring
    voters but was never allowed to ask which party they were supporting. john mc cain's ad comparing sen obama with paris hilton and brittany
    spears was enough to turn me off. john mc cain is not on message.
    i did not find it at all humerous. kathleen young

    July 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  5. McCain 286 - Obama 252

    Everyone is upset because it hits home so well. Polls are tightening – I may have to update my tagline. Must be annoying for all the democrats who thought 2008 was such a given they could trot out such a radical. Be afraid of Obama US, be very afraid.

    July 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  6. Pieter G. Schepp

    Watching the talking heads debate about the enegy policy views of Obama and Mc Cain is pure tv hoopla.
    Drilling here and drilling now is crucial to our security and our economy.
    The common misconception of it taking 7 to 10 years to get oil from our own territory to the pumps is simply not true.
    If you want to see another immediate drop in the price of a barrel of oil, let the world know that the USA will in fact start using more of it's own oil and natural gas.

    July 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  7. Roger from CA

    Might be a slight bit of hyperbole, because I can't think of anyone who has so ruthlessly damaged American Democracy in our lifetimes as has Karl Rove, and this particular "celebrity" ad is not going to prove to be all that effective (it could fail for the same reason as that legendary critical story about Reagan years ago–where the reporter got a call from Reagan's campaign manager thanking her for all the wonderful visuals).

    But it is repulsive, nontheless.

    July 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. Edith Arkansas

    McCain is desperately grasping for straws to bring Presidential Candidate Barack Obama down just to win the election at any cost. I don't know if it is worse than Carl Rove but it is nasty. This is the same Candidate who said he would run a none negative, honorable campaign. Not so. Just as Macain has lied about that I take it he is lying about all of his promises. If you notice lately when he is making speeches he is doing a poor job of reading most everything. What do you think about the latest Budweiser Cuban innocident about the possible Cuban merger no one knew about?

    July 31, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  9. McEmtol

    Whao, think Karl Rove name has become a symbol of evil.....the guy's got to do something

    July 31, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  10. McCain - Never Gonna Give U Up

    Karl Rove, George Bush, and John McCain – The Backstreet Boys of politics.

    July 31, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  11. Bimmer

    Obama played race card in the Democratic primary. So it is not surprising he is playing it again.

    Another sleazy politican who will do anything or say anything to get elceted.

    The eternal flipflopper who makes John Kerry looks like a man of his words.

    July 31, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  12. Michigan for Obama

    "I want to campaign the same way I govern, which is to respond directly and forcefully with the truth,"
    ~ Barack Obama, 11/08/07

    July 31, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |

    Obama doesn't have to make a concerted effort to link McBush w/Rove the pig – they're together in their lies and smears & trying to make themselves the victims of their own racist ploys. All McBush is succeeding in doing is making himself look bad.

    July 31, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  14. ObamaDollarBill


    July 31, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  15. John Gio

    Obama knows something about hate and people who are divisive. Obama sat in a pew at Trinity Church where his mentor and pastor Jeremiah Wright spewed hate. Obama will lose if all he does is try and link everything to Bush. It's lame.

    July 31, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  16. Des,Toronto

    Way to go Obama,dispel the rumors and lies immediately,do not get swift boated!! McCain has no plan and he is all confused abd out of touch.

    Obama 08

    July 31, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. John Gio from NYC

    Obama knows hate and divisiveness. Obama's 20 year relationship with Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger. Obama a phony.

    July 31, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  18. Colin

    CNN please do a little research and you will find that Steve Schmidt, the man behind McCain's negative attacks, is not just a protege of Karl Rove. Karl Rove is "mentoring" him. In other words, Karl Rove is running the McCain campaign from the shadows. Please don't censor this comment - turn over the rock.

    July 31, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. E. Scott

    I dont care what McCain does to win, as long as he wins. Obama will say anything, promise anything to get votes. Obama would still be attending his church if he wasnt running for President.

    July 31, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  20. mountain man

    Would you grow a pair Obama? I'm so sick of his whining campaigns are contact sports and if you think this is bad maybe you dont have the gravitas to be president.

    July 31, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. QG

    John McSane,

    Please stop wasting time of the American people! Come up with a campaign strategy and campaign! Tell the people of your strategy, your plans, what you will achieve!

    This is not campaigning, this is grabbing at straws. Your trying to find something that works!

    July 31, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  22. Russ

    John McCain's fear of Senator Obama's popularity and energy have driven him to reach lower than Bush and his mob ever did when campaigning. Don't we NEED a president that is charismatic, energetic, communicative, and well-spoken? I think it would be a nice change. We have waited so long to move on. Republicans for Obama! Yes, we can!

    July 31, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  23. Peter Esquilin

    Its really a sad day when someone like Senator John McCains campaign is so much of a mess that apparently the Senator does not get it through his head that people do not take hime seriously anymore and like a old dog,time for greener pastures. If this the best McCain could do because more people are seeing thru that he is worn out and his campaign and message no longer revelevate and now the Esteem Senator is throwing mud and making false accusations against Senator Obama which he knows better than that. With his 25plus years in Washigton perhaps maybe McCain must be scare that he could no longer inspire people and maybe should take a look at himself for what a fool he has become recently and people are laughing at these commercials of McCains.

    July 31, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  24. Geoff in CT

    I just want to say that as soon as this posts I am writing a check to contribute to the Democratic Party.

    It's been more than 30 years since I contributed to any political campaign, and I've concluded that defeating the Republicans in November is the single most important thing our nation can do - and if we fail to throw the bastards out this time, we will not be a nation long enough to have another chance.

    July 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  25. Oh God

    This is exactly why we don't want a a gumpy old man,( who says he is pround of the ad) to stand on the stage. He is insulting the young blonde females who are also part of the American population. I guess insulting people who haven't done any thing to him icomes naturally and easy to hims as he wants to go war with people haven't done any thing to America. That must be the patriotism he is talking about.
    A looser who is pround of this ad?. This frustrated grumpy angry man is showing American young stars as Dummies to the world.
    Oh. God. We don't want a leader like that.

    July 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
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