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. Kim-Rockford, IL

    I'm so sure that Rove just wants to give Obama advice on how to win. I guess he's just a good samaritan and wants to see the best person as president.....NOT!!!

    September 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Oh Really?

    Dear Anonymous,

    Rove has a consistent, medium-size role, like he has a consistent, medium size head. If you believe that lie, no wonder you're defending him–your brain can't be functioning.

    September 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. My Friends, let me tell you

    Carl will soon be fitted for an orange jumpsuit.Lets see that smug smile then.

    September 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Frank

    McCain is running for president ? It's sure hard to tell because nobody even in the Republican party pays attention to him.

    Be honest (fat chance), it's really the Palin/McCain ticket. Neo-Cons at work.

    September 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. fafa

    Yes I agree with MikeH keep using the lipstick phrase. That way you are telling the republican you are not backing off. The Repub will tell a lack and dont back off

    September 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. SH in TX


    Obama will be paying close attention to Rove's advice

    uh huh

    September 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. glittergirl

    Wow his head looks like a marshmallow. Anyway, the reason why the McCain/Rove camp has not let Palin speak on her own is because they are still vetting her behind closed doors. And although she likes to speak publicly, she does not sound very bright at times, almost juvenile even. The crap is about to hit the fan and it is the beginning of the end of McCain's joy ride.

    September 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. suzan fahmy

    You know it is up to you America
    i you are going to listen and go with Rove and his like
    We will deserve what will happen it is as simple at that.
    They have played that game again and again and we run after it and get fooled. Hope we are smarter this time America hope we are for the sake of our children and grand children

    September 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Willow, in Iowa

    Well, another little scoop that keeps the MSM talking about Palin. Talking about NOT bothering Palin IS talking about Palin. He's got her back in the lights, just by saying DON't talk about her. LOL.

    This doesn't deserve any air time.

    September 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. fixthebroken

    Do any of you feel like you are living in bizarro world or something when it comes to this election?

    This whole presidential race has just gotten out of control. Rove is giving Obama "advice"?!?! Talk about a trojan horse.

    September 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Jean

    What's the famous line... "Democrats always find a way to lose the election they should have won in a landslide."

    Win or Lose... it never should have been this close.

    You talk about Hope and Change and everyone rallies around you. Then McCain picks Palin and you go bashing her every chance you get. And people start flocking away from your negativity.

    Even a community organizer should be able to figure out that your message is off and now your poll numbers are too.

    Fix it or spend your life regretting how close you actually got to the White House.

    September 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Jeronimo!

    Since when is challenging an opponents' credentials an attack?

    Since when is asking for unscripted dialogue from a VP candidate an attack?

    September 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Angela

    I anxiously wait everyday for Rove to give me advice so thanks Mr. Rove now I have some advice for you. Get a lawyer your are going to need work you freakin criminal!

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Fighting for Obama Since he is too political correct!

    Rove please be quiet and shut that nasty pie hole of yours up. Looking at you makes me throw up in my mouth. We don't need your unsolicited advice. Obama has never attacked Palin.

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Rick in NC

    Karl Rove is just trying to get a rise out of Obama. This is the same crap the Bush administration has been using for 8 years and it has divided this country. I know BO will not take the bait because he is to smart. Yep, that's right, intelligence trumps cheap tricks any time.

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. S.M

    The lipstick issue had nothing to do with Palin; just McCain's stupid economic plan. Karl Rove may have held a high position in the government but he's still stupid.

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. Rich

    I will vote with Bill Clinton's endorsement of Obama over George Bush's endorsement for McCain any day.

    Does anyone still remember the prosperity of the Clinton administration?

    The choice is so simple this election. Prosperity vs. More War

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Kathryn - Metairie, LA

    Sure it's dumb because Fat Head, Karl Rove, is one of the biggest (in more ways than one!) fools in Washington, D.C., right along with George W. Bush!

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. janine

    By the way, this has been the deadliest year in Afghanistan for our American troops. Maybe Obama was right – we should've had more support for them there and focused on taking out the Taliban instead of attacking Iraq considering they never attacked us.

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Enough

    Bait and switch, by saying don't attack he really wants him to continue.
    If he is smart he will keep to issues and let biden and others deal with VP

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. mac attack

    Hey, Another pig, sans lipstick. Why is this mullet headed dude not in jail? He's a legend in his own mind. When Obama is president he and his buddies shrub, shooter, rummy and lizza can sit in there cells to rot.

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. canadian

    Another way to cause distraction...its all strategy that's going to come back to haunt them. I don't think the american public is stupid...maybe dissoriented. Its very sad to bring up stupid topics on such a sad day..,
    The republicans remind me of bullys at school that don't have anything smart to say.

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Dana

    Ugh I never thought I would say this about Karl Rove- but as an Obama supporter I have to agree- and I believe Obama is going to get back on track regarding the direction of his attacks. McCain is the one running for President and he needs to remind Americans why Obama is the better choice.
    I think all these back and forth nit picking, swiftboating politics worked temporarily and we all noticed Obama get off tilt a bit- but if there is anything I have learned about Obama through these last 2 years, is that he is resiliant and I think next week you will find him back on track and stronger than ever- after this long journey everyone can have an off week, Lord knows McCain has had a handfull- time to get back to business- ISSUES over RHETORIC and SMEARS!!
    The media and his VP can do the work as far as letting American's know the truth about Sarah Palin- he can stick to reminding America why we DO NOT WANT 4 MORE YEARS!!
    Fired Up and Ready To Go!!

    Obama/Biden 08!!

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Shari, NY

    Where is everybody: You sure got that right. I have been hearing this from all over. My choice's team is woefully lacking and if he should win he should remember them very well.

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. FreeNLovIt

    Well, I like to take this moment to thank the Republican Party for coming out to support the Democrats and to let us know that Hillary will drive the election home, for coming out to support Democrats to let us know that a Hillary/Obama ticket or Obama/Hillary ticket will be disastrous to the Democrats...

    Did Snobby Kennedys, Kerry, DNC establishment, Nancy Pelosi and the other stooges listen? NO.

    We'll see. I would love for the Democrats to win.

    September 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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