September 11th, 2008
01:50 PM ET
14 years ago

Rove to Obama: Attacking Palin is dumb

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Karl Rove is offering unsolicited campaign advice to Obama ."]

(CNN) - Karl Rove is again offering unsolicited advice to Barack Obama, this time advising the Democratic presidential nominee to avoid attacking Sarah Palin directly if he hopes to win the White House in November.

“It's a match-up he'll lose," Rove writes Thursday in his regular Wall Street Journal column. "If Mr. Obama wants to win, he needs to remember he's running against John McCain for president, not Mrs. Palin for vice president."

Rove notes past attempts by Democratic presidential nominees to attack the No. 2 on the GOP ticket have largely fell flat, and says the issues Obama is hitting Palin on are ones the Illinois senator is weak on himself.

"If Mr. Obama keeps attacking Mrs. Palin, he could suffer the fate of his Democratic predecessors. These assaults highlight his own tissue-thin résumé, waste precious time better spent reassuring voters he is up for the job, and diminish him - not her," Rove writes.

Specifically, Rove says it is not in Obama's interest to attack the Alaska governor on her lack of experience or the earmarks she has requested - two issues, Rove says, on which voters may also question Obama's record.

Since she was named to the GOP ticket two weeks ago, Obama has rarely called out Palin directly, often attacking both her and McCain together as representing a continuation of President Bush's policies. But in an interview on CNN last week, Obama suggested his executive experience surpassed Palin's.

“My understanding is that Gov. Palin’s town, Wasilla, has I think 50 employees," he said. "We've got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year – we have a budget of about three times that just for the month."

He also on Sunday called out her claim she is an anti-earmark reformer, saying "I know the governor of Alaska has been saying she's change, and that's great…[but] when you've been taking all these earmarks when it's convenient, and then suddenly you're the champion anti-earmark person, that's not change….you can't just make stuff up."

Filed under: Karl Rove
soundoff (494 Responses)
  1. Vince, NYC NY

    So much for the 9-11 Truce. Sneaky attack Karl.

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. 215

    Love or hate Karl Rove, you cannot call him dumb. He is a political genius that got W elected twice. Anyone that can do that is incredibly intelligent. One other thing. When you call someone else stupid make sure you can spell.

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Sandy C.

    Who cares about 'Rove's unsolicited advice'. This man – the one guilty of creating nasty ads, lies and worse on Democratic political candidates – the same one that says he doesn't have anything to do with McCain's campaign... I am so sick of the gutter people – also known as Republicans. It is okay for them to lie, cheat and steal us blind – but, we better not address that in campaigns??? I sure hope there are more people in America sick of these Republican tactics!
    But, frankly, I am afraid that the Republican tactics (or stealing another state in false election data) will only encourage the 50+ million idiots that voting in '04... God help us if McCain/Palin gets into the White House. For sure we will be in a Depression and more wars because McCain wants to 'bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran'.

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Linda from Prescott AZ

    Rove, Crawl back into the woodwork. It is quite evident that you are helping the mccain slime machine so keep your comments to or about Obama to yourself.

    It's hateful people like you that have proven to be a menace to this country and society.

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. ba

    Kar Rove,you need to put this country first.Please Cnn don't let this man post anything useless.Just post Mccain no won in election.
    Thank cnn for understanding

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Mercedes

    This man is very scary. He reminds me of the man that was on the last Potegist movie, the one that knocked on the door and the little girl open. He was dressed as in the 1800's and wanted the little girl to let him in. I wouldn't be surprise this man is seen as a leader to his fanatical creeps. Open your eyes americans because this man can lead us to destruction. Pray to God this man is put behind bars.

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Jeremy-Dallas


    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. Aelfric

    The interesting part is that KR is quite possibly the only man in US politics with a worse reputation than Bush-Cheney. Which is to say, anytime he speaks or writes anything, it is a net gain for Barack Obama.

    This was the guy, remember, who said, You're entitled to *your* numbers – I have *THE* numbers. Republicans hold on to both the Senate AND the House of Representatives.

    The Supreme Court said the president (Nixon) could not withhold tapes of Oval Office discussions from Congress, yet KR believes he can refuse to even bother to *show up* for Congressional subpoenas? He thinks he has greater privilege than the President himself? Why isn't he in jail yet?

    Ignore him. He has nothing reliable to contribute to any legitimate discussion.

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. john

    its the evil emperor!! protect your heart Obama!!!!!!!!!!

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Foreign observer

    An advice from the pig in this race. Even lipstick will not help.

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. fixthebroken

    Alice in Florida,

    Spare me your sob story about how *you* were so wronged in Florida by the DNC. Had your state just had their primary on a day that was not in violation of DNC rules, then maybe Hillary Clinton would be the nominee - or again, maybe not. We will never know.

    If you vote for McCain this election, you might as well just register Republican because that is what you have become. Our electoral process is not about voting for someone out of spite - but apparently to you it is. So much so that you are willing to SELL OUT Hillary Clinton and everything she believes in to vote for a ticket that will try its best to reduce the gains that Hillary Clinton has made during her time in politics.

    Yeah, you *really* love Hillary Clinton....*sigh*

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. sara, az

    On my way into work this morning I listened to the names being read at Ground Zero on POTUS 08 and found myself silently crying over the loss of so many loved ones.

    And then? I got angry that Bush and Cheney and the NeoCons used this horrible event as a LIE to start a war that killed more Americans than died on 9/11 and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.

    Wake up people. The Republicans are lying to you.

    You want to vote for McCain 'cause you think Palin is "exciting?" Please. Going over Niagra Falls in a barrel is exciting but do you think you'll actually survive?

    The Republicans are using you and your ignorance to control you. They'll make money with their rich corporate buddies in oil and big business and you'll get poorer and even LESS educated which will make you even easier to control.

    They'll continue to buy up every media outlet until you no longer hear the truth about any issue or about any politician. Books will be banned and free speech will be gone. Do you really want to live under Stalin??

    What's it going to take for you to finally understand that THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU? You are simply a means to their end. Sadly, by then, it will be the end of America as we know it - the Constitution will be in shreds and YOU will be to blame because you had a choice to make it right.

    Again, I beg of you to THINK. Listen with an open mind. YOU can make a difference but you have to be willing to not vote against your self interests.

    Vote Democrat. Vote for Hope. Vote for the Freedom of your children and your grandchildren.

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Javier

    McCain will win this election!!! McCain has 26 years as a senator and Obama has only 4.

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Denise

    DUH!!! Like he doesn't already know that Palin is insignificant.

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. Yaw

    Obama never attacked Sara, so what is Rove talking about. This guy always want to make himself relevant. If Karl Rove want to be relevant, then he should talk to Sean Hannity to stop by racist, unchristian, divisive, and stop spewing hatred in the name of free speech

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Ben

    Why isn't he in jail yet? I've yet to hear Obama say anything about Palin so what is he talking about and why is this news?

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. andy

    is running a campaign executive experience?

    September 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Vic

    Rove is right, but what is puzzling is that these tactical words of advice
    have to come from the opposition. Of course, if Obama continues to dwell on Palin and her coined use of the word "lipstick," what can we say???

    September 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |

    Palin's airport speech was an insight into the McCain/Palin energy policy.

    Exploit Alaskas fossil fuel resources, period!

    What about renewable energy, what has the state of Alaska invested on this during the Palin administration?

    September 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Barbara Peter

    Rove is exactly right. Obama should consentrate on showing he can handle the job and not run down the republican VP. It makes him look like a loser and is too worried he is going to lose the McCain/Palin ticket.
    Obama needs to work on being able to answer questions without a script in front of him. He doesn't appear to be someone that could make a quick decision if one is needed.

    September 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Dave in Houston

    News Flash! Rove advises Obama: Quit!

    CNN ought to try to be fair and balanced and get Dennis Kucinich's advice to McCain.

    We can't afford McCain and The Pain. Oops – forgot the 'L'.

    September 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Dawn Lancaster

    The only place this guy needs to be is in Jail. He's just trying to keep the Palin news going, the king of evil political schemes.

    September 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Michael

    Good point Aaron – Obama hasn't attacked. The media has (with good reason), and Palin tells them to stop picking on her. Just another backhanded way for Rove to imply Obama is doing something he isn't. Pathetic!

    September 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Carol

    Like he needs advice from one of Fox News contributors. That's enough reason to say No Thanks.

    September 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Jay

    Have to agree with Rove; the prize is McCain not Palin

    Keep the eyes on McCain.

    The rest of us can drive poor Palin crazy.

    September 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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