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. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    @DM4O..Quite a stretch there M'am. The Bible seems to always get interpreted to support ones beliefs.....especially political beliefs.
    You weren't supposed to get caught in that "net" CryBabies.
    I was responding to ( riling up really) the haters that will not stop at using God to justify their hate.
    Stop the hate towards Gays, Latinos, Blacks, the poor, the old, the infirm, the disenfranchised....

    March 18, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. One L

    Is this another vesrion of the Biggest Loser?

    March 18, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. JerseyGeorge

    I thought CPAC had turned into a John Audubon conference because I saw Palin mimicking a Screech Owl behind the podium. I noticed see she graduated from writing crib notes in her palm hand into using a teleprompter. One thing for sure, her and Trump make a great pair. 🙂

    March 18, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Daniel McRick

    " did not take the time to either hear or read her comments" I don't have to drink goat urine to know it ain't good, either.

    March 18, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. The GOP need to pack up and leave

    A criminal who outed an undercover CIA operative and a pickle brained moron, going toe-to-toe....

    Yep, the GOP is imploding in on itself.

    March 18, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Jon bignault

    These comments are mostly just ad hominem attacks on Palin or Rove. There is no substance to any of these critiques. Go back listen to Palin's speech and comment on the substance of what she says. It is substantial and actually quite clever once you get past her odd and provincial speech patterns. She and Rove have a very basic and important disagreement which could also apply to the democratic party. GET PAST YOUR HATE. LISTEN TO WHAT SHE SAYS and NOT HOW SHE SAYS IT and you might decide she isn't an idiot. You do not have to agree with her though.

    March 18, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Deist

    Palin's "Speech" was more like you might overhear from a seventh grade sleep over argument. She is the weakest link in a very shallow gene pool from the most backward area in the U.S.

    March 18, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Mary Gualco

    Karl is a sore loser and big blow hard. At least Sarah cares aobut this county and tries to come up with some solutions. All Karl does is criticize. She cares about the Constitution – that is more than Karl does.

    March 18, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Tony Torres

    One loser to another, need I say more. Good riddance to both of them. At least Rove is trying and working at it. Palin is just milking it until you fools stop giving her money, she is neither a politician nor a celebrity, she just fleecing all does crazy people that think she is the next best thing to slice bread. What a JOKE of a woman.

    March 18, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Dandy

    >>"Our policies are sound, but I think that in many ways the way that we communicate can be a real problem," Priebus said >>at the report's release.

    No... your policy sucks. It is full of hatred.
    Obviously the GOP has learned nothing.
    Stop putting nitwits like Palin behind the podium and we might take you seriously.

    If the GOP was sincere about their need to change, they would be seeing a shrink to determine how to rid themselves of their self-hate problem!

    March 18, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Facts don't Lie

    now let's be honest if this were two "high powered" (hard to say that with a straight face) Democrats or Progressives going at each other like this the right wing and Fox News wold be eating this stuff up! Both Rove AND Palin show partly what is wrong with today's GOP..intolerence, ignorance, and playing on people's fears .

    March 18, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Chuck

    Obama's caompaign headquarters at it again

    Dont you ever write any stories about Democrats?
    probably a good idea not to, since they make the GOP look like Saints.

    March 18, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Bob

    We need more republicans like Palin. Her resistance to "watering down" the conservative brand means that they will never win the presidency.

    March 18, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. TCIP

    Let us just all sit back and watch the Republicans destroy each other!!

    March 18, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Told You So

    I could have told the republicans what's wrong with their party and saved them 10 million...Palin, Rove etc..etc...

    March 18, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. pkrbkr

    Two losers complaining about the state of the Rs.....both should just go away! The more they fight, the better it looks for the Dems tho

    March 18, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. JC

    The GOP biggest problem???? Eating one another.

    March 18, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Tom

    So much for the Ronald Regan commandment of never speaking ill of another Republican. It's going to be interesting to watch how this story evolves, but unless a strong leader of the party emerges it sure feels like the Republican party is on a fast path to an internal civil war.

    March 18, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. independant jim

    Most red states will be blue states in 8 years then states like texas Mississippi Georgia etc will be gerrymandered to benefit all the people then Rove and Palin will have to compete with real voter districts against real repiblicans and democrats

    March 18, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Aroz

    A tale of two twitties.

    March 18, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. korkea aika

    who's the bigger joke? Palin with her made-up folksy expressions? Or Karl Rove's inability to accept reality on Fox news, when the USA voted for Barack Hussein Obama for the second time? I felt for Rove that night, because that's just how we felt when we saw GW (mission accomplished) get elected in 2004. Sick to our stomachs.

    March 18, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. honestuck

    I am not sure what Mr. Rove is insinuating. Is he saying that fat balding guys don't make good candidates for office? That's prejudicial. Some of my best friends are fat and balding and several of them would make great candidates for a seat in the Senate or the house.

    March 18, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. Iowan

    She should have her head examined, picking a fight with Rove. He's not someone I would go flapping about if I had not done my homework first.

    March 18, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. mjinmd

    It is beyond me why the Republican Party would let Sarah Palin open her shrill, shrieking mouth to say anything. She absolutely turns my stomach and makes me ill when she says anything. She is the most obnoxious woman I have ever heard.

    March 18, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. steven

    Just my view but Palin is a clown. Comic relief. Entertainment. Karl Rove, on the other hand, might be the scariest man in this country. Should be taken very seriously.

    March 18, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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