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. I AM

    Who are these people ?

    March 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Expat American

    Failed Kingmaker versus Big Gulper

    March 18, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. dale

    Palin and Rove–the albatross twins.

    March 18, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. MiBigAl

    But at least she can see Russia from that cliff!

    March 18, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. happynurse

    the republicans are a joke for continuing to let this person speak for them. She is an unintelligent loud mouth shrew who does nothing but nag. She has nothing constuctive or positive to offer

    March 18, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Wes Scott

    I don't often agree with Karl Rove, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and in reference to Palin he is absolutely on the mark. Palin makes it a point to run around trying to influence every race in every state and district. What gives her the right to do that, and then slam somebody else for doing the exact same thing?

    Palin is just too brain dead to understand the hypocrisy of everything she says and does. I wish she would go back to Alaska and just keep her mouth shut and her stupid comments to herself. It would be asking too much to request that she take Rove with her!

    March 18, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. SoSad

    Ha ha ha ha ha, Palin the Conservative Hoe, Rove old fat white guy. Change will never come to the Republicans, they have to change, they don't want to change. Yes, Bush we will be entering a one party system, just look at California.

    March 18, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Distant

    Do the world a big favor. Give both parties the weapon of their choice. Point out the rules of engagement. Rule No. 1: There are no rules. Then put both parties in a place where no harm can come to intelligent people, and let them go to it. If this approach were to be taken toward solving the playground spat they are having, they'd straighten up quick.

    March 18, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |

    LOL, LMAO. In the words of Pee Wee Herman "I know you are but what am I? lol

    March 18, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Knucklehead

    She actually said "Buck up and run?" How many sides are there to her mouth?

    March 18, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Knucklehead

    Conservatives say people aren't getting their message. Their real problem is that yes, we are getting your message.

    March 18, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. rustythewonderdog

    often wonder about if there was a losers bracket in politics who would compete.... the wondering for me has been solved.

    March 18, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. rich333

    keep up the good work palin ........barack

    March 18, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. A

    Wow, Palin vs. Rove. If this were an actual, physical fight to the death, I would say the rest of us win either way.

    March 18, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. ksiner

    I think it's funny that both of them think they are relevant anymore

    March 18, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. vilap

    Gotta love those Republicans..eating their young.

    March 18, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    CNN, lists up. Even aux news had enough of this uneducated shrill.
    All she is good for is . . . Sorry, can't think of one darn thing!
    She has had work done and has lost so much weight she should join scott in Florida for a walking dead stroll on a secluded beach. Just make sure they walk into theocean not along the shore!

    March 18, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. sonnie3

    It is obvious that Rove is a drag on the Republican Party in what he has done to control who what and where the party should go. Sara just pointed this out to him and it hit a nerve. The shoe fit well and Rove still did not like it

    March 18, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Big Al

    Only Sarah Palin can save us from evil. All of us need to get our bibles out and march on her behalf.

    Palin-Bachman 2016!

    This is a ticket that would blow Hillary Clinton away.

    March 18, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Frez

    I can't believe the media got the story completely wrong. What happened is that Rove listened to Palin's grievance; reflected, validated and empathized with it (Hendrix - Couple's Dialogue); realized she was right, and vowed to make changes for his sake and hers.

    March 18, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. trumpisgodly

    i hope s-pal runs again....she is the best...i love sarah... she speak her mind...and write books...she has a bus....she is trumps pal....i love her....i love her bus...

    March 18, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. Dude Love

    Can Palin and Rove please go away? PLEASE

    March 18, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. trumpisgodly

    i like the palin bachman ticket that big al talked about–with don trump as sec of state....that would be great..they have a bus they could tour the country...i love them all....we should all march with big al...hes clearthinker...

    March 18, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Dan

    No love for Rove here, but could CNN have found a more flattering picture of him?

    March 18, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    Put every poliitician on minimum wage and social security and watch things get done.

    They're all in it for the money, not for the country.

    March 18, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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