Karl Rove snaps back at Sarah Palin
March 17th, 2013
02:55 PM ET
10 years ago

Karl Rove snaps back at Sarah Palin

(CNN) – Karl Rove wasted no time in hitting back at Sarah Palin after she criticized him for getting involved in Republican primaries last year.

"If she can play in primaries, other people can play in primaries," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

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During her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, Palin chided Washington establishment attempts to shape the last election, especially in congressional races. While she didn't mention his name, the former Alaska governor seemed to be aiming at Rove, the former top political adviser to George W. Bush who was dubbed the "architect" of the former president's campaigns.

Rove now runs American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, two independent groups that spent money for conservative candidates in last year's contests, as well as in the 2010 mid-terms. While candidates that Crossroads supported two years ago saw success, most of them failed to win their contests last year.

"If these experts who keep losing elections and keep getting rehired and raking in millions, if they feel that strongly about who gets to run in this party, then they should buck up or stay in the truck. Buck up and run," Palin said. "The architects can head on back."

Rove is now starting another organization, the Conservative Victory Project, that's designed to help find candidates who can easily win Republican primaries. Palin joined tea party activists in blasting the new move, saying it's simply a way to push out more conservative voices.

Palin herself was active in backing the more conservative candidates in several Republican primaries last year. Many of her preferred candidates went on to win, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska.

With 20 months until the 2014 mid-terms, Palin said Washington should not be in the game of hand-picking a candidate. She urged her CPAC audience to change the "top-down political process" and create their own search for the next best crop of contenders.

Asked to respond to her remarks, Rove said Sunday that the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee had little room to talk.

"Well, first of all, I live in Texas, and I don't live in Washington," Rove said on Fox, where Palin once served as a paid contributor.

"Second of all, look, Sarah Palin should be agreeing with this. She didn't support Todd Akin, and when he said the reprehensible things he said, she wisely came out and said he ought to get out of the race."

He was referring to Akin's controversial statement about rape that ultimately derailed the Missouri congressman's campaign for the U.S. Senate - a seat he was favored to win. Akin made the comments soon after he became the Republican nominee in the race. Palin had backed Republican Sarah Steelman for the nomination.

Rove said he also had to set the record straight on two other points of contention.

"First of all, raking in millions - I'm a volunteer. I don't take a dime from my work with American Crossroads. I even pay my own travel expenses, out of my own pocket. I thought Sarah Palin was about encouraging volunteer, grass-roots activity. I'm a volunteer," he said.

"Second of all, look. I appreciate her encouragement that I ought to go home to Texas and run for office. I would be enthused if I ran for office to have her support. I will say this, though: I don't think I'm a particularly good candidate. Sort of a balding, fat guy. And second of all, I'd say if I did run for office and win, I would serve out my term. I wouldn't leave office midterm," he said, taking a swipe at Palin's decision to resign from her governorship in 2009.

Filed under: 2014 • American Crossroads • CPAC • Karl Rove • Sarah Palin
soundoff (468 Responses)
  1. Lulu

    Sarah again proves she cares only for the press....is she a cousin of the Karadashians? Or are we victims of media overdrive on worthless, useless celebrities (that includes Jennifer Aniston) who are on EVERY magazine cover all the time????? We don't care what you think, what size shoe you wear, how you wear your hair, your latest conquest or phony sensibiilities on anything....or we could pay the media NOT to blast their boring faces and finally read about interesting intelligent women who are humble, kind, compassionate and don't go shopping every minute.

    March 18, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. ondeck

    Two sides of the same coin – both losers. Thank God the Republican party is dying. Long live peace, compassion and equality, and the TRUE christian value of treating others as you would like to be treated. There is nothing worse than spreading lies and fear to promote your own selfish interests.....hang on America, the United States will prevail as the country of respect and honor again when this political party dissolves.

    March 18, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  3. Derek

    I laugh at the fact that republicans still think they are made up of a balanced and intelligent group... What's scary however is that even though it's fun to watch Palin and Rove argue, many people within their party trust them. That's who the republican party is, Palin and Rove. Scary but true.

    March 18, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. Big_D

    My deepest regret is that they cannot fight to the death over it.

    March 18, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. sarah

    She gets the boot from Fox, she can't get het own show, yet she was the high point of the pact. Relly/ sarah, please turn the lights off when you leave

    March 18, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. agathokles

    Oh, Karl ! Dissing one of Palin's speeches is too easy! Where's your sense of sport? It's about as easy as shooting wolves from a helicopter.

    March 18, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Harangue

    I find this quite amusing.

    On a Burn standpoint, I gotta give Karl props.

    March 18, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Anonymous


    @Palin Power

    And all those responding to you here supposedly voted for Obama thinking there was a ficticious war on women? What do you call this?? Not one female democrat speaking out about the slander to a fellow woman
    Slander requires telling a lie. Blind defense based gender alone is not what's women's rights is all about. That would be like defending or attacking a politician because they were.. let's say an African American... for example...

    March 18, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. Bill Jordan

    Hey kids, for a good laugh, go to you tube and search "Karl Rove Rap." You'll be glad you did.

    March 18, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  10. KeninTexas

    Palin is a goof and her opinion isn't worth spit.

    March 18, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. John the Historian

    Let the conservative children of the conservative revolution eat their own children. The schism of the Republican party begins. The social conservatives split with the miltary-industrial complex and economic conservatives. How wonderful to see them fight among themselves.

    March 18, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. penguin

    I thought Palins speech was quite humorous. Had John Stewart or Stephen Colbert made the same comments most would realize they were being sarcastic. Palin however was dead serious. But nobody (almost) takes her seriously.

    March 18, 2013 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  13. sodakhic

    Hey libs, but out. We don't need your advise.This is Bush/Dole/Romney/Rove vs. Reagan/Palin.

    March 19, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  14. peridot2

    Neither one has anything useful to contribute to the country or to society. Both should sit down and shut up.

    March 19, 2013 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  15. Rick Patel

    Loathsome slug Karl Rove is a Bush family shoe-shine boy who isn't fit to clean the mud off Gov. Sarah Palin's hunting boots.

    March 19, 2013 05:49 am at 5:49 am |
  16. Crewmax42

    Rove lists the flaws in Sarah's assertions. Wouldn't that mean she's not talking about him? Karl, is it ALL about you?

    March 19, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  17. Crewmax42

    to don in Albuquerque

    Too many flaws in your analogy to be taken seriously, except by the low information voter. Now, if you compared Eva and Michelle, you'd be onto something.:

    March 19, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  18. TimM

    It's really hard to listen to what someone is trying to say when all you can do is bash the speaker. The sound of Nancy Pelosi's voice just make me cringe, but when I read some of the things she says, I find that I can agree with her on some points. The problem is in our society, we are 'conditioned' to attack someone because they have a 'D' or an 'R' following their name. We attack the messenger and fail to hear the message. Can anyone honestly say that they believe the country's fiscal problems can be solved with only spending cuts or only increased revenues? It will take both parties to give up some of the 'sacred cows' to fix this country, but until we stop attacking the messenger before we even hear the message, we will just continue on the downward spiral.

    March 19, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
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