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. grady

    two con-men trying to out con each other..

    March 18, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  2. W.G.

    The frying pan call the Kettle "Black" ! They┬┤re both losers and as long as these people and people like them are in the G.O.P. then the G.O.P. is D.E.A.D. !

    March 18, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    It's about time this character assassin took some heat!

    March 18, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  4. Rob Johnson

    I have never liked Rove, but I have to admit the "If I was elected, I would serve out my term" comment was spot on.

    Score one for ol' Turd Blossom!

    March 18, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    -Harry Kuheim

    You go Girl! Rove has no track record worth bragging about...
    Rove got a president elected: Palin ensured 2 GOP nominees lost.

    March 18, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  6. Payback

    I love it when they eat each other up like wild animals.

    March 18, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  7. Core republican Values

    There is virtually nothing more entertaining than watching two creepy, worthless republicans battle it out on the national stage.

    Each one reminds entire world that everything they have been, are now, and could ever be is repulsive, ignorant, and destructive of everything good in this country.

    Palin and Rove are rotten the very core of their republican values.

    March 18, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  8. Rosslaw

    A battle of wits and both sides are firing blanks.

    March 18, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  9. Dave - Phx

    Haha Republicans on their way to losing the next election.

    March 18, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  10. sara

    Bottom of the barrel..... where debris collides.

    March 18, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. bph

    I'm an independent who just might have a second look at a certain Governor from N.J. during the next election, oh thats right the wingnut's and extremists didn't invite him to cpac...............just sayin

    March 18, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  12. hecep

    Said Rove, "I don't think I'm a particularly good candidate. Sort of a balding, fat guy." Well, there's another reason or two as to why I wouldn't vote for him. But he does unintentionally touch on one reason as to why it's difficult to find competent, honest candidates for political office: To many voters, looks matter.

    March 18, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  13. Name

    With Rove,Palin its an old slug fest and just like I've said before and I'll repeat again not only are republicans poor losers but they eat their own as well this being another in a long line of self inflicted political wounds that'll eventually bring the republican party to its knees with no outside democratic help!!!Rove having to explain publicly he doesn't take a dime in his political organization American Crossroads,he's a volunteer ,yah right and Bush didn't part the red sea either right!!And Palin after being part of a losing combo in the past presidencial election in 2008 she goes back to Alaska and quits her day job governoring a state with a population smaller than most Midwestern cities, what a joke that goes to show the mentality of todays republican voters bigotted and ignorent with a touch of arrogence thrown in for a deadly mix and don't forget the denile because all republicans even posters here are guilty of it as well!!

    March 18, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  14. Georgie

    He is making a big assumption that he could even win an election...even in dumb downed Texas.

    March 18, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  15. jcraw

    Karl is so ugly – I wish he would just go away! He is too ugly to look at – and when he starts talking – he is even uglier! Repubs need to stop listening to this jerk!

    March 18, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  16. Patrick O'Donnell

    Isn't it fun watrching conservatives eatingn their own,

    March 18, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    How To Fix Repubican Party: Kick Palin to the curb and anyone who supports the most extreme of her views and statements..

    The Republican Party's reputation was significantly bruised before Sarah Palin came along. The name "Bush" was totally toxic in 2008. Once Palin burst on the scene, the party burned brightly, like a super massive star. But like a massive star, that brightness is short lived, and it eventually collapses into a black hole.

    I think we're seing something very similar ocurring with the Republican Party. As much as they need to get rid of Palin, she represents the fuel that keeps them blazing. Without her, well that's what we've been for the past year. The hard line faction that wants to move futhrer to the right are the roots of the base of the party. They support Palin's views the most. But, they're also killing the party just as much as they keep it alive.

    The hard line base is the fuel. When the fuel runs out, or is removed, the whole thing collapses into a black hole. But the only way to fix the party is get rid of the base from its' image and reputation. In other words, they're doomed to collapse. It's only a question of when.

    March 18, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  18. david mann

    The Republican party is DEAD, they're just in denial about it. They don't invite Christy (75% approval) because he committed the unpardonable sin of saying something decent about Obama, but they DO invite a bunch of losers and whack jobs ( "Failin'" Palin, "Sanctimonious" Santorum, "Blowfish" Trump, "Hoof-in-Mouth" Romney...) to speak, and all THEY do is bad-mouth the President. I don't understand how Repukes can stand themselves.

    March 18, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Republicans have so marginalized themselves from the rest of the populace that they've had to resort to indulging in modern day cannibalism.
    Rove looks and acts like something that should've been aborted.

    March 18, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  20. Taroya

    Nice they have all that cash, but the rest of us have to take furloughs, job losses, and cuts in pay.
    Why? Well, they SAY there is no money..................

    March 18, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  21. John

    Two community organizers at work.

    March 18, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  22. buckeye

    Both need to retire. They're like Dumb and Dumber. One knows how to screw up foreign policy and the other has never heard of foreign policy. The Conservatives are in big trouble!

    March 18, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  23. BCW

    Both Palin and Rove are poison of the GOP. But, many republicans love to listen to their garbage and actually believe they are the truth. How scary? Did any GOP folks learn anything from the last election? Majority said the GOP agenda is out-of -touch of what the majority of the American people beleive. Look what GOP elected into the Senate; Cruz, Paul and others who has no idea how to work across the party line and compromise. Democrate will take back the house in 2014.

    March 18, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. Charles Bowen

    I am very happy that Rove got involved in the election because it scared the Bejesus out of the Democratic base and cost the Repulsivecans The Election....Palin is a babbling brook that annoys the democrats and brings them to the polls....These Two Clowns are the part of reason that the Republican Party of NO is on its way out....Won't Miss Republicans a Bit they can't tell the truth and Big Business and The Rich Religious Right own their souls... Hey! Have A Great Day....Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    March 18, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  25. DemFromSC

    I love circular Republican firing squads! Call Wayne LaPierre for more bullets!

    March 18, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
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