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. Lois

    McCain is just another lying career politician. Attack, attack attack. So much for an honest campaign. Nasty is NOT going to get it McCain. I figured out you cannot talk about anything else, except Iraq (which you do not seem to know as much as you pretend), and Obama. Because you don't know much of anything else. What did you do those 26 years in the Senate??

    July 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  2. TRACY

    When is the last time McCain talked about anything of substance? Instead of attacking his opponent, how about he tell us as young Republicans how he plans to keep Social Security alive long enough for us to benefit from it, keep gas in our tanks, and keep food in our children's mouths and our jobs in this country?

    I don't want to hear about what Obama ate for lunch. I want to hear about what the man I plan to vote for plans to do for me. If this is all McCain has then he will lose my vote.

    July 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  3. ChrisD

    Watch out, you can't say anything about Obama without it being old politics or fearmongering, or what else; O' yeah racist. Geez, Obama really needs to get over himself. Quit playing the victim it's getting old. Someone please tell me what makes Obama deserve all this hype? I was a Democrat for Hillary but now I'm a Democrat for McCain, Just thought you'd like to know.

    July 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  4. James in central Florida

    WOW !!! Only ninety-six days until I can help elect John McCain to the Presidency of the United States !!! I can't wait...gotta have that good ol' sanity restored to this land!

    July 31, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  5. Vote against Corporate Welfare

    Is there anyone more disturbing to look at than Karl Rove? We knew the republicans would use attack ads though McCain said he wouldn't. I want to know what the distraction issue will be this time. In 2004, it was gay marriage. Everyone forgot about the issues, and voted for the folks who said gay marriage wouldn't happen on their watch. It's happening now in California. Bush couldn't even deliver on a hate based promise. Pathetic.

    July 31, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  6. Chuck

    It is sad when the race has sunk to this point. It is amazing that with housing problems, gas prices, energy problems, the economy, joblessness, etc. and McCain has to feature Obama with Spears and Hilton in an ad that doesn't make any sense.

    July 31, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. steve, boston

    hard to tell the difference.

    anyone surprised?


    July 31, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. Phantom of the Oprah

    If people want change and if democrats want to win- then, pray tell did you choose, select and install Obama as nominee?

    The least qualified of ALL the great DEMS candidates.

    And why would you trash HRC out of the running just to risk losing the all-important election by installing Obama as the nominee?

    Pandering to 12% of the American population- thinking that NO democrat could lose this NOV, anyway, so why not be politically correct and back the presumptuous, grabbing for power, unaccomplished- but half black- unkown do nothing blow hard.

    July 31, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. Jim CO

    And the beat goes on . All the polls that are pre selected to create heated debates will not change Obamas land slide win in November. Right now the idea is to keep it close and keep news medias ratings up.

    July 31, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. cindy

    John McCain wears $550 Italian shoes and calls Obama out of touch, wants us to stay in Iraq for 100 years, knows nothing about the economy, runs distasteful/offensive ads that clearly indicate he WILL do anything to get elected. Aren't we tired of all this? Let's move on. No more of the same McCain!

    July 31, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  11. Mike


    July 31, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. LLMTruth

    Dirty, low down politics, thats all the Republicans know. Especially if they really don't have a solid platform on which to base a campaign on, they resort to these type of dirty tactics. No vision, no goals, no aspirations, nothing tangible that one might be able to grab onto.just below the belt, fear mongering tactics.

    This same type of tactics have been purt forth by the Republican Party for decadeds. And the sad part is that it appears to appeal to a baser side of some of us. In particular the ones that approve of this sort of nonsense. That in itself is pathetic. And unless we send a message that this kind of campaigning will not be tolerated, we will continue to be bombarded with meaningless ads like this one that in no way addresses the issues facing this country today. And then to hear McCain say he was proud of that ad, sickened me. And this is the guy people want to place their faith in. Someone who uses weasel tactics like this??

    If he gets elected, then we'll deserve everything that panderer is going to do to us, just like GW.

    It's like the people in this country have a death wish or a desire to self-destruct. People are pitiful.

    July 31, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  13. Dems are stuck in the fix they rigged

    tip to democrats....

    Generally you do not WIN elections by trashing/bashing/ hating/ ridiculing/ attacking/mocking/insulting and swiftboating YOUR BEST CANDIDATE.... and installing a pompous, self-impressed, cocky, smug, elitist with no merits, experience or track record.

    July 31, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  14. selected not elected

    Obama had no problem attacking... and encouraging his thugs in attacking fellow democrats- including Bill and Hill themselves.

    I hope his filth comes back to engulf him.

    July 31, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  15. Josh

    If you want proof that McCain has taken the lowroad, ask yourself this, "Why are we not talking about the issues that are important to us?"

    July 31, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  16. Willy

    Rove is what Carville was to the democrats.

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

    I have always admired and respected John McCain despite the fact that I am a democrat and will be voting for Obama. I have to tell you though, that John is not the man I thought he was. I no longer like him let alone respect him. I never though he would stoop to sleazy Bush style personal attacks and then say that he is proud of them. God held us if he wins the White House.

    July 31, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  18. pam Eugene OR

    OMG not again McCain needs to STOP talking about Obama.
    He need to fire his entire campaign staff and start over with all new people. This has "Rove" written all over.
    The good news is...I got that email today from Barack and I sent him another $100.
    McCain, if you have a platform it is past time you tell us what it is and stop hiding behind juvenile name calling.
    Grow up old man!

    July 31, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  19. ERIC, MN

    I guess Obama was right when he said the Straight Talk Express had lost a few wheels along the way. Now, they on the Low Road Express. It seems that all of the tires have come off now.

    July 31, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  20. linda from South Dakota

    mccain has no scruplee so how can anyone ever expect him to be a president,,, no way,,,, hes rude(mcciian) and lies(mccain) and is wayyy to old,,, obama!!!!!!!08

    July 31, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  21. Timmy Coffee

    The American media has long hidden from the public the astonishing fact that as a long term US Senator, John McCain has only a rudimentary understanding of both domestic and national security issues. His petulant, spoiled child disposition makes him un- presidential. He is a reckless individual. A vote for him is a reckless, irresponsible vote. This concerted racist campaign he has now decided to run demonstrates he has no decency. In the last week, he has made it perfectly clear that his campaign is based on the rebirth of Jim Crow era politics. The incessant comments that Senator Obama is presumptuous, arrogant and/or cocky are all code words for he is an uppity Negro who can’t be trusted to know his place. Along with the constant red security alerts, which the Bush administration will start up within the next month, it wouldn’t be surprising for McCain-Bush to propose a national poll tax before the November election. America is struggling after 16 years of Clinton and Bush. McCain would be the final nail in America’s coffin.

    July 31, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  22. That's Reality

    Ttrying to link McCain to Rove and Bush is like trying to link Obama to his muslim roots.

    July 31, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  23. Indiana Bob

    Talk about nasty tactics, how about Obama playing the race card again. Just like he did so many times in the primary.

    And what about charges against Sen. Ted Stevens for unreported gifts. Why isn't Obama being prosecuted on the same charges after his underhanded real estate dealings with Rezko and the fact that Rezko personally paid for the fence around the Obama mansion? Why is Obama above the law and political scrutiny? Is the press afraid that Obama will play the race card on them?

    PUMA - this isn't American Idol - vote McCain

    July 31, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  24. Randy

    They say it because it's true. This is direct attacks on non-issues about Obama. Especially when all the facts prove McCain wrong. Obama was rated higher than McCain by veterans groups. And Obama is choosing to adopt an Apollo-esque mission to solve the energy crisis while McCain choses to adopt gimmicks.

    July 31, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  25. Jim CO

    CNN removes removes comments that they feel harms there image. Shame on you. Freedom of speech?

    July 31, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
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