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. justin in CO

    not to jump the gun, but based on previous experience, i predict the mccain campaign will cry 'foul' over this one, accusing obama of hitting below the belt, "lowest form of politics", and all that jazz.

    July 31, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Texan in Colorado

    TRUST ME- absolutely NOTHING could be worse than Karl Rove– NOTHING. That man invented evil.

    July 31, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Crush Rush

    Legacy?The most hated leaders America has ever had in Office,PERIOD.

    July 31, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Willow, from Iowa

    McCain has taken "Rove" to a new plateau. This is clearly not the man I could have voted for 8 years ago. I had a major respect for McCain then. I have lost it since he became so negative.

    He needs to quit trying to tell us how our judgment does not mean anything, and begin to campaign about the issues. We have enough issues to discuss for the next 4 years.

    July 31, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. Texas Trail Dog!

    Here you go again OBAMA spreading untruths about your opposition. There is no connection of ROVE TO McCAIN but I'm sure your blind mice followers will believe. HOWEVER NOT THE MULTITUDES OF HILLARY FOLLOWERS AND REPUBLICANS THAT ARTE GROWING AS WE SPEAK. You will not, read you will not, "YES WE CAN," Come November. your motto will be, "Well I ran for president in 08," but my organization killed the Democrat Party. THAT IS ONE GOOD THING THAT IS COMING OUT OF THIS AFTER THIS YEAR THERE WILL BE NO MORE DEMOCRAT PARTY. THANK YOU, DEAN, PELOSI, KENNEDY, KERRY, RICHARDSON, BYRD, ETC AND ALL YOU TRAITORS THAT WOULD ELLECT AN IMMORAL MAN TO PUBLIC OFFICE.

    July 31, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. JC, South Carolina Conservative

    I can't wait for McCain's speech at the RNC convention...it will be painful to watch. Will the networks televise it?

    July 31, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Terry

    its awful

    July 31, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  8. Peggy - TX

    Karl Rove's protégé may be using Karl Roves tactics, but he is no where as effective as Karl Rove. The Paris/Brit add was a waste of money and the Race card bit is weak. Karl Rove would tell you, if asked, that you can not just slam your opponent, you have to stand for some thing. McCain standing for safe, conservative at a time when Americans are extremely dissatisfied is not going working.

    The good thing is that If McCain keeps taking the low road, then he gives Obama a card to hold, if needed, to do the same with little back-lash, and McCain has a lot of dirt in his attic.

    Conservative women will not vote for a flagrant adulterer, who treated his first wife as badly as he did who brags about being a war hero when he did nothing but get shot down, then collaborate with the enemy.

    July 31, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. Seriously

    Will leave the US if McCant wins.

    July 31, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  10. Sean

    McCain's tactics are reprehensible. I used to support McCain, and looked forward to what I thought would be a win/win contest between he and Obama. But at this point, all I can say is that McCain inspired me to go contribute to Obama's campaign today.

    And on a side-note, is it just me, or does Rove look sort of like an old baby to everyone?

    July 31, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. libby

    Get over Karl Rove, you can't match, Karl, he is a
    political genius, Obama's team just jealous, they do not
    have anyone like him.
    Stop making Karl the boogie man, get over him!
    find your own genius

    July 31, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Andrew

    CNN, why are you using Democratic talking points as your headline? You report the opinions and comments of Obama's spokesperson and neglect to include any rebuttal or counterpoint from McCain's camp, or even a neutral expert. This is clearly biased reporting.

    July 31, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. Dave

    Was Obama playing fair politics when he eliminated all of his opponents from the ballot in Illinois?

    David Axelrod is 1,000 times more sleazy than Karl Rove.


    McCain 08!!!!!

    July 31, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. Lorna, NY

    I am not surprised, Karl Rove's best friends now run McCains campaign.

    July 31, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. Wise Owl

    Great advertisment!!!

    July 31, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. Denise Groves

    Worse or not, he had better make this campaign about McCain/Bush instead of about him. He will loose if he doesn't.

    July 31, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  17. Daniel

    Honestly conjuring images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton with the next leader of our country is PATHETIC and just plain STUPID.

    McFear is really desperate....

    If this is the best McShame can come up with then he is not ready to lead... and at his age he never will be.

    Obama 08 and 12

    July 31, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. ENE M DIAZ


    July 31, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. Eric

    Maybe McCain is going through a second childhood, because the Paris ad was pretty childish.

    Holy cow – our banking system is melting down, and we have millions of home foreclosures. McCain is not taking this seriously enough.

    July 31, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. Marj,Paso Robles, Cal

    Quit playing the victim Dumbama. Your just mad because your poll numbers are dropping. You have only yourself to blame, Messiah.

    July 31, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. Robert

    McCain has gone negative with false attacks. 3 of the last 4 attack ads he has produced are based on provable lies. THAT is a big deal! I think the public is going to see this and figure out that McCain has given up on winning cleanly.

    July 31, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. robin kelly

    Liberals crack me up. Karl Rove – can anyone name ANYTHING terrible the guy has done. Please - ONE THING? By all accounts, he is a decent and super-intelligent guy. Of course, those are the 2 things liberals hate, for if everyone had those qualities, there would be no liberals.

    July 31, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Chut Pata

    I disagree with Obama. Nobody can go lower than Rove. During Bush-McCain campaing (McBush was McCain those day), Rove had spread rumors that McCain's adoptive daughter is actually his real daughter from an African-American woman out of wedlock.

    However McCain is catching up with Rove. He may as well leave him far behind with the new generation of neocons.

    July 31, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. David, Silver Spring, MD

    I guess McCain learned a few tricks from Rove when he ran against Bush in 2000. I wonder how many push polls he's running out there.

    I wonder what it would be like if we lived in a country where candidates just tell us what they want to do and we pick the option we prefer.

    Instead, we get stupid ads like this Obama/Britney thing, email spam spreading lies and innuendo, and questions in debates about flag pins.

    July 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. Robert

    Once again, the Obama campaign is being ridiculous with the comparisons....they will say anything to try to win. I really think they are being very underhanded. Well guess what... I WILL NOT VOTE FOR YOU OBAMA!!!

    July 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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