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. freedom

    Sarah Palin hit it out of the park at CPAC. She still rocks a crowd like no one else! Totally outshines the lies and destruction coming out of the White House right now.

    March 18, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. Janice

    Lock Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner in a room together. They deserve each other!

    March 18, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  3. Ancient Texan

    Sarah still makes coherent statements that makes Biden look like the product of the education system that is run by the Federal government, yet libs ridicule her and call her ignorant..

    March 18, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. midwest3

    The one thing Palin got right was the fact that Rove is raking in millions in his position with these (now 3) groups. They're both losers and should go back under the rocks they crawled out from.

    March 18, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. RobertOKUSA

    Sarah Palin has the emotionally maturity of a 12 year old school girl. I will never forgive John McCain for providing her the opportunity to be one heartbeat away from leader of the free world.

    March 18, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. Whammybar

    Hilarious that Rove thinks you have to go out and find leaders that are palatible. If they are truly leaders that would serve the country well wouldn't they stand out on their own?

    March 18, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. Ferret out the BS

    @Rudy NYC, good analysis and I think it is only a matter of time as well before total collaps but unfortunately when a black hole exists it exists in a vacumn and I am concerned what will fill the void, perhaps something worse.

    March 18, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. roverho2

    So if you talk like a stupid hillbilly, like Palin you are coherant!? You trolls keep giving this freak money, please! You have yet to figure out Americans do not want hillbillies like her running this country no matter what we have now! Got it?

    March 18, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. Tim

    It's SO FUN to watch Rove and Palin "diss" each other. Who needs Looney Tunes when you have the GOP hilarity???

    March 18, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. boyamidumb

    Somebody please give Palin a brain that works, and put Rove in prison where he belongs.

    These two people are embarrassments to the entire country.

    March 18, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. Gwats

    How can you tell when every Republican in the room is lying? When their lips are moving!

    March 18, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. Laurie in Spokane

    Geez I love it when the republicans snipe at each other. Especialle Rove sniping at Palin. Only good thing he's done actually.

    March 18, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. brian in denver

    Stand back! It's a real battle of the brains...

    March 18, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. Garrison

    Palin / Rove
    A must have ticket in 2016!!

    March 18, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. The REAL Truth...

    Palin's "speech" at CPAC was typical Repug trash-talk, especially since much of it focused on it's own. Rove has more intelligence in his pinky than Palin does in her entire family. She's the last one who should be throwing stones in a glass house.
    As a conservative – which MOST of the speakers at CPAC are NOT as they are so far right that Reagan would be considered a RINO in that group – I'm hoping this clueless bunch can get a grip on reality. For once in the last 12 yrs I agree with Rove.. the conservative needs an electable candidate. It's unfortunate that they will likely find one in the Republican Party.. which continues to implode on its own insignificance.

    March 18, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  16. Ralph_in_FL

    Given that they are both the Kiss of Death, they should be encouraged to participate in as many Republican primaries as possible.

    March 18, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. CW

    "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."

    "..sort of.."??

    March 18, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Jolly good entertainment!

    March 18, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Sniffit

    Jabberwocky Barbie versus Turdblossom celebrity deathmatch?

    March 18, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. Searcher

    Shouldn't Sarah be home hunting moose?

    March 18, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. ritmocojo

    Palin / Bachmann ticket in 2017!

    March 18, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "buck up or stay in the truck.'

    Sigh...if only those "experts" had locked her in the truck....

    March 18, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. WB

    Sarah Palin: Making crazy conservatives appear relatively sane by comparison, since 2008.

    March 18, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. PigBodine

    Alien vs. Predator, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Monkey vs. Robot, Palin vs. Rove

    March 18, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. Rossi

    I believe there is a distinct difference between stupid people and morons. Stupid people generally know they are stupid. Morons are so stupid that they are completely unaware of just how dumb they really are. Sarah Palin is the best example of a moron I can possibly give. The only one running a distant 2nd place would be Michelle Bachman. Good republicans need to wake up and fast, the numbskulls have over-taken your party. You know it, we all know it, now get rid of the extremist elements like the Tea party and Libertarians and save yourselves. The end result of this current path looks dark.

    March 18, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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