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)

    "If he keeps attacking Palin about her earmarks and lack of experience".

    He hasn't attacked her about her lack of experience, not once, even when prompted to.

    I wish he would because that's the question everybody with a brain should do, but Obama hasn't once, and Rove here is misrepresenting Obama, much like Mccain has misrepresented Obama throughout this campaign.

    It makes me sick that the Wallstreet Journal would hire him to write this trash for their paper.

    September 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Enemy Of The State

    Can we sign a petition to put this man in jail? He is an enemy of the state.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Tony

    Only the republicans would take the word of an unethical, lying, crooked, criminal.

    Republican apathy, gulibility, and ignorance are alive and well in America.

    September 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. gwt301

    This guy should be walking in shackles wearing an orange jumpsuit and not giving out advice.

    September 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. indy

    With so much riding on this election maybe CNN should devote more space to Matt Damon's thoughts about politics

    September 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Now he wants Change!!!

    Rove is another reason why lil fat kids should get out side and play more. No friends growing up will take a toll on you.

    September 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. donna

    If I were in the Obama campaign, I would do the exact opposite of what Karl Rove says.

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Rose

    I think Obama should concentrate on John McCain, and where is Joe Biden, he should be the one talking about Gov. Palin. Obama just looks stupid when he tries to defend himself against the VP candidate. With regard to the "lipstick" remark, it sure does seem strange that he would use that term at this time after Gov. Palin made a "lipstick" comment at the convention. I think a lot of people don't buy his statement and neither did the audience that was there, they knew it was a direct aim at Palin. He has a lot of guts saying that he is running a clean campaign and using the word "lie".

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. MEP

    Since when does the disgraced Karl Rove's opinion matter ? Obama does not need any advice from him! If Ms Palin does not wish to be attacked, then she should not attack so viciously herself: what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, to use another farmyard metaphor.

    They cannot have it both ways. Women are either men's equals or they aren't. If they aren' t then they must use the gender card to take themselves out of harm's way, just as her surrogates are doing here. Ms Pailn, pick!( read:put up or shut up). And by the way, man up, Joe Biden!

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Sylvia

    Should we call McCain McRove? McCain caves in to Rove tactics each time.

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Chris

    Rove is a pig without lipstick. He should really start wearing lipstick. Don't you think?

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. The Voice of Reason

    Thanks Karl Rove for telling us democrats how we can win. Why the change of Heart? Well thanks again and now you can return to hell and catch up with your father......he's missing you.

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Arizona Demo

    For all of you who thinks Rove doesn't count, who cares, no one listens to him; you had better pay attention. He is behind all of this garbage that is coming from McCain's campaign. Same tactics used on Kerry. If you want Obama to win, we need to get back on the issues.

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Brandon for Obama


    Karl Rove should encourage Gov Palin to do the same. She was the one who initially began to slam Obama. Belittling his experience as a community organizer and such and drawing comparisons between herself and Sen Obama.

    And as the article points out, Obama has not called out Palin specifically (except when he said her family life was off limits when Bristol's pregnancy was announced) -and I won't even give merit to the lipstick/pig comment, b/c McCain said it himself.

    Palin should keep her mouth off Obama and stick to policies.

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Just Me In WV

    Yeah, why isnt the Rove in jail? Oh, the repugnicans have him protected, after the elections and Sen Obama is Prez Obama – maybe they will lock him up and throw away the key. I could not post on the 911/safe factor because its closed for comment...but I saw a post and I just have to respond.

    The post said something about Bush being the reason we have not be attacked since 911...thats really scary because I have always and always will believe we were attacked because of Bush.

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama and democrat supporters don't need Karl Rove's advice. We are very aware that Rove is pulling the "puppet strings" of McCain and Palin just like he did with Bush and Cheney. Karl Rove is no "mastermind" he's a "underminder" and spreads false propaganda to anyone who will listen. NOT THIS TIME, NO WAY, NO HOW, NO MCCAIN AND PALIN AND DEFINITELY NO KARL ROVE.

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. SD

    Advice coming from Karl Rove??? This guy has attacked the constitution for years! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Military Man

    If he was smart enough to orchestrate 2 back to back wins for a loser like Bush, I'd listen to his advice very closely. While democrats may hate him, it's silly to deny his political genius. The man is about as shrewd and talented as they come with regards to politics. His words ring truth, and if Obama wants any hope of winning he'd listen to them.

    September 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. Good vs Evil

    And he thinks the Obama Camp doesn't know this? Karl is an idiot.

    Obama/Biden 08

    Clearly this is a case of good vs evil. My choice for president will be so easy this year.

    September 11, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Kenneth

    Nobody wants advice from George Bush's corrupt adviser. He needs to testify and clear his name. Oops, I am sorry. If he was innocent,he would have testified already. Corruption personified, Karl Rove.

    September 11, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Hillary Democrat

    For first time I have to agree with Rove. McCain in 2008 Hillary in 2012

    September 11, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Kristen

    Karl Rove needs to shut up! I find it very disrespectful to sling mud on a day that McCain and Obama agreed to a truce. Today is 9/11 – a day we should pay respect to our country and mourn the loss of our fallen heroes and loved ones. Act like a pig any other day, Rove, but not today.

    Obama/Biden '08! 🙂

    September 11, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. no more lies

    He has'nt been talking about Palin... but the republicans want him to. All he has to do is talk about the issues. I have'nt heard anything on the economy from mccain-palin when their in front of these big crowds of people,lol.. GET A CLUE PEOPLE!!!!

    September 11, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Elaine

    This from the guy who helped elect the worst president in history.

    September 11, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. JB


    Obama doesn't need to attack her.

    As more info comes out about her she is being revealed as ONE OF THE BIGGEST LIARS OF ALL TIME.

    She is the MOST FRIGHTENING potential president in history!


    September 11, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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