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. CronoT

    After almost a decade of GOP oligarchy, it looks like the current GOP is ready to tear itself apart due to the head & the limbs being at near permanent odds with each other.

    March 17, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Now kids..

    March 17, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. G.O.Pig

    Yes, Republican vs Republican fight, just what the republican party needed.
    Buahahahahaha. Democarats 2016

    March 17, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Bob Forsberg

    Rove's time has come and gone...he's only in it for the money today.

    March 17, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Ben

    Sad. SO Palin wants candidates "who can win". Not candidates who will help our country. Not candidates who will do the right things. All Palin wants is power. People that will win. It doesn't matter what they do afterwards.

    Caribou Barbie needs to get lost for a long time. She quits as Governor of Alaska and has the gall to talk about candidates to lead our country. SHe is an example of what's wrong. She quits and people want her to run for another office. Pathetic.

    March 17, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. John jo

    Palin doesn't even have a leg to stand on.

    March 17, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. Name lynn

    Karl dont lose you breath on sarah she not worth it she a crazy loin on the loose an look like a she he cobra an needs to get out of media an news cast.

    March 17, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    They are both sick folks controlled by old Rupert Murdock and Middle East Telecom moguls that own Fox. I think conservatives need to get back to common sense politics and help the USA and its citizens. These people made their money and they need to but out. They screwed things in the past. Tune them out.

    March 17, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. TPF

    This woman has no more experience than a small town Mayor, a half term Governor that quit for the greed of enriching herself has no room at all to talk. She's is of no relevance to any one or anything that has to do with politics. She's old news and it's time to move on. Even FOX had enough of her, she milked them out of a couple million.

    March 17, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. lottie

    just what the republican party needs more rove more palin more trump and a straw poll win by paul. No wonder they lost the last election. Whats next a reality tv show ????

    March 17, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Dr Matrix

    Sarah continues the Republican mentality of you're for us or against us while continously moving further right. She has no stake in any of this. She's like Ann Coulter, just a professional noisemaker.

    Using Jeff Flake as an example is a joke. I left Arizona 1 1/2 years ago. I can tell you that Ted Bundy could get elected there by running as a Republican, and that's after his conviction.

    March 17, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. gadabout

    Karl, are you telling me that you didn't se the benefit of Palin answering the call to run for VP? The Repubs had a pathetic (although a hero) candidate runing that had NO APPEAL, ZIP, NODA, NONE. So go play nice any please let the voters pick the winners.

    March 17, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Mike O.

    Amazing! I agree with Rove on something. When Palin said Obama should learn how to lead I immediately thought of how she quit part way through her term. That's certainly not "leadership".
    I'm a Democrat but I would like fiscally conservative voices in the GOP to remain strong as a fair counterbalance. Palin is a joke and does her party more harm than good. The fact that so many people listen to her empty rhetoric is troubling. She continues to call Obama a "community organizer"; never mind he's been president for four years now. She continues to run on the birther line of "let's check Obama's background" in response to new gun laws. Any time I debate someone on the right and they bring up the birther line I immediately shut my brain off to them. It's an asinine and somewhat racist argument and, at a basic level, lacks substance – just like Palin.
    The GOP would do better off listening to voices like Jon Huntsman, Bobby Jindal, and Chris Christie. They won't though because they have to play to their misinformed base to win primaries.

    March 17, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Xausted

    Two children, in need of a trip to the woodshed. Sick of seeing them, and hearing them.

    March 17, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. Rina

    I don't get it. Chris Christie is snubbed from CPAC and Palin and Rove are invited? Man, I knew the GOP was not thinking clearly but this is the most insane stuff I have ever heard! Can they not look in the mirror and see what lost them the last election? People almost rabidly H A T E Karl Rove and Palin both. I know people this year – including my own Mom – who voted democrat or libertarian simply because of the mockery the GOP is making out of our election process. This used to be funny. Now it is seriously pathetic. Keep on GOP. Keep working toward irrelevancy. Us democrats are enjoying the show. Please, pass the popcorn.

    March 17, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Ron

    Two has-beens disagreeing. Now that's news.

    March 17, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. GianCarlo

    This poor excuse of a woman who can't even win a race, yea, they should listen to her advise. People are stupid are.

    March 17, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Steve

    Lots of shallow small minded BUSH-OWNED men out slamming Sarah Palin today. But then again, they're the ones who've ruined the GOP. Coincidence!

    March 17, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. norma jean

    If I were Karl Rove....I would be hanging my head in shame for being fool of the year..... It's enough to make the average person sick to hear the amount of money this jerk blew on the presidential campaign and lost all of it.......That does not, however ,seem to make him come down out of the clouds and take a reasonable look at what's going on around him........The rest of us are smarter than he is......we didn't spend a dime!!!!!

    March 17, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Dave

    They Republican Party is collapsing from within. Pure enjoyment to watch.

    March 17, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Steve R

    Rove vs Palin. Trump vs Jindel. Rubio vs Paul. It just doesn't get any better. And the winner is........................the Dems.

    March 17, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. chuckles

    Cat fight!

    March 17, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. Sue Jorgensen

    CNN is not quite getting the actual feeling inside this, it is the struggle of the establishment dynasty builders ( let's have another) Bush (jeb) President, against lets take risks and advance our principles not just trying to go with safe candidates.
    The Rove's and what Rove represents is the path that the upstart, Tea Party'rs resent as the Wrong path no different than voting Dem. Big Government, Big Spending, Bureaucratic almost an aristocracy you must be made by the party or you will be defeated from within no matter what the people want

    March 17, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  24. Billy

    So Sarah, who left office mid-term to reach for the millions, claims Rove reaches for the millions. And Sarah, whose candidate's who did so poorly in the last election, is critizing Rove's candidates. Amazing.

    I am not sure a comic write could come up with anything better.

    March 17, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. EPAB

    Hard to believe that Rove now seems to a moderate in the Goofy Old Party.

    March 17, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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