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. sbilly

    Bottom line they are both totally clueless. Keep up the good work!!

    March 18, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Seems each one of them says "I'm OK, the rest of you need to be like me".. blah blah blahblah

    March 18, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. daneburns

    Wasn't it Karl Rove who pursuaded Bush to opposed same-sex marriage and call for a federal constitutional amendment to bar it? It would have been the first constitutional amendment to restrict the rights of a targeted minority. I voted for Reagan before the GOP went rabid. I doubt that I'll be voting Republican again any time soon.

    March 18, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Daniel McRick

    Nice to know that primaries are "play" to these uber-rich people. When are they going to take their pet orangutan and go home?

    March 18, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. VancCanadian

    Just look at him ... the epitome of the republican party ... a party with almost NOTHING in common with conservative parties from around the world ... a backward party, taking your country backward.

    March 18, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Bill

    It is going to take another four years before the republican party gets with it. They seem to have their priorities all screwed up when it comes to the majority in our country. I think we need to redo our constitution and get rid of delegate nominations during elections. I think it should be based on popularity of the voters. If a governor, congressman, senator, or president win by the majority of people in their state or in the case of the president the country, then those are the people to be the candidate elected. Maybe if we did not have parties, things would get done quicker and more efficient.

    March 18, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. mike

    As long as the Bullies,Bigots,and Birthers wag the tail of the Republican / Tea Party it will not win the White House again.

    March 18, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Nissim Levy

    I'll show you in a nutshell what's wrong with the Republican party. They invited Palin to speak at CPAC but they snubbed Chris Christie who is their best shot at winning the next presidential election. Enough said!

    March 18, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Did anyone else notice that Palin re-opened the birther argument? Even Trump passed on it.
    She suggested that the president should have had a better background check.

    March 18, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Dawn Kiebals

    Two D-Bags walk into a CPAC. One says....

    March 18, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. PigBodine

    It is fitting and pitiful at the same time for Palin to show the world her only skill, that which is done through a straw, as though she were seizing a symbol of freedom.

    March 18, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. BobPitt

    Big Al... I am with you brother... Palin Backaman 2016...!!!

    LMAO.... can't take anymore...LOL

    Hillary would have a blast having the two m0r0ns running against her....

    March 18, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Keyser

    Dog eat dog. You could see this coming.

    March 18, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. tet1953

    It's McCain's fault. If he hadn't given her the stage she would still be in Alaska.

    March 18, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. JJ

    Rove and Palin? Dual airbags.

    March 18, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. retmcgd

    It's unfortunate that so many chose to mock either or both, rather than focus on and discuss the points raised! Considering the grossly inaccurate analyses Karl Rove delivered throughout last year's campaign – culminating with his farcical refusal to accept the loss of Ohio even when all numbers, irrespective of their source, clearly indicated so – it is no wonder that his credibility and value as a political consultant is now found suspect! I listened to the former governor's speech, and found it to be a good one, resonating well with those present – 5 or 6 standing O's, which included one for her comments about consultants. She did highlight a number of points the GOP would be wise to explore. Unfortunately, it appears that many who posted comments here did not take the time to either hear or read her comments before posting them.

    March 18, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    Palin vs. Rove – It's like they're both running for next president of hell.

    March 18, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Saboth

    The GOP civil war is like the Hatfields vs the McCoys.

    March 18, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. California Gary

    Is it just me, or does Rove always look like he just sat on a cactus?

    March 18, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. ceci

    And who let her out of her cage?

    March 18, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. RickV

    Mr Rove could serve his country and his party well, if he would just go away.

    March 18, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. LastGirl

    I thought Fox fired Rove. Apparently they like him more than they like Palin because he was asked back (even if not on a permanent basis) and Sarah wasn't.

    March 18, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. Concerned Citizen

    Karl Rove is SO not relevant!

    March 18, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. SteveFromBoston

    Palin has found her niche, is actually making a name for herself, and she looks great. Unfortunately she's a idiot and no one really takes her seriously.....

    As for Rove, does anyone actually believe anything he says.....he's a volunteer??? Right....

    After he was forced out of Washington during the Bush administration he said he was going to "spend time with his family" and instead he's running campaign swindles, money laundering and kickback schemes for Carlyle Group and the RNC.

    And now what's he saygins..... he doesn't "live in Washington" he's just a good ole boy from Texas.....yeah that's it....a good ole boy volunteer.....like he's from Welcome Wagon.......do a couple of google searches on him along with words like "criminal" and money and see what turns up.....

    His successes of fixing Texas elections and getting Bush II elevated to our highest office was a long long time ago.....what has he done lately except cash other peoples checks.....he's worn out, the cracks are showing, he's getting sloppy and .it's only a matter of time before his backers get sick of throwing their money away, or he makes that one mistake that gets him caught and when he does screw up he will take everyone down with him, because that's the kind of guy he is....

    March 18, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Daniel McRick

    Albatross Twins? Hang them around Prince Rebus' neck.

    March 18, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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