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. Bob in Ohio

    This is really very funny!

    March 18, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |

    I'd like both of them to just go away. Palin makes my stomach turn and Rove well..he's just a criminal plain and simple.

    March 18, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Tom wrote:

    So much for the Ronald Regan commandment of never speaking ill of another Republican.
    That rule was for a different Republican Party.

    Actually, the rule was pure whitewash. Reagan's opposing candidates could have torn his record apart, and were starting to do so.. Their biggest problem was that Reagan had name recognition, but they didn't. So Reagan proposes his altruistic sounding 11th Commandment, which effectively defanged his opponents.

    March 18, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. aCriticalEye

    Rove, Koch, Bohner, Mc Connel, Ryan and Norquist should all be rounded up ans summarily executed.
    Well, since that wont happen, how about we just vote the entire GOP/Tea pary out of office.

    The Party of No, has got to GO!

    March 18, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. evan

    Somebody could make a whooole lot of money developing a sitcom based on how ridiculous the GOP has become....

    March 18, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  6. snowdogg

    KR can dish it out... but not take it.

    March 18, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. Nodack

    So who is it exactly do Republicans like? They seem to hate everybody including themselves.

    "The promise of opportunity will be our message, and a spirit of optimism will infuse everything that we do."


    March 18, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Gene Venable

    But seriously; there once was a responsible, serious Republican Party. I miss it, and America misses it. I am not a Republican, but I like to see other points of view than mine represented, but not the opinions of these clowns. Certainly someone like Eisenhower would be drummed out of the party instantly if he appeared now.

    March 18, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Demigod Vadik, CA

    Tea Party candidates cant win, and Rove candidates can't win...

    ...Safe to say that REPUBLICAN candidates cant win...

    ...good riddance too...

    March 18, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Person of Interest

    "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,"

    Oh snap. I love it when the truth is most painful part about people's past. Still don't know why people like Sarah Palin. Her and Ted Nugent are the worst people to every represent anything. Gun toting Ted bragged about draft dodging and Sarah couldn't even finish her term in office. I thought practice what you preach and finish what you start were true American themes? Not if you ask those "true Americans"

    March 18, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. karen

    With all of Reince Priebus's lofty talk about spending $10M to reach out to the 47% after they slapped the 47% in the face...repeatedly. Now more of the same clown car crap at the CPAC.

    On TOP of the same failed policies that actually hurt the 47%...

    No, GOP!!! No where near good enough. What a ridiculous excuse for a national party they are!!!!! Pathetic....

    March 18, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. ironman59

    To begin with the notion of cpac is absurd and a reflection of the gop pawing at a minority base. Sure they can decide a candidate that meets a bunch of criteria that isn't realistic but they will coninue (thankfully so) to get demolished in general elections. The gop has proven the only way they can come close to competing is to change the rules. Voter ID laws implemented 90 days or less than the general election (with no funding to process the applciations). Changing dates for votes on ballot issues to the primary instead of general election (NC).

    Simple fact is that the gop is going to die out. That will be a good thing for this country.

    March 18, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. blf83

    Rumor has it that Rove likes his leather and some S & M.

    March 18, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Marco3

    Dumb and Dumber leading the GOP down the path to total irrelevance

    March 18, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. Mark in Seattle

    Act 2. Look for Palin to get all wee-wee'd up. Her words, not mine.

    March 18, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. Palin Power

    Sarah Palin is stronger and more powerful than Karl Rove. She will palinize the GOP and purify it of the Bush/Cheney/Rove neocon taint. She will have the last laugh when she becomes our next and greatest President.

    March 18, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. GGarcia

    Can't wait to see the paid off 'grassroots' audiences that the RNC scrounges up.

    I'm getting flashbacks of the Koch brothers' Tea Party Express fiasco...

    March 18, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. TheObserver

    Ahh this is beautiful. Sarah Palin arguing with Karl Rove. Is this a new reality show? Is this the actual Republican party? Is there a difference?

    Most Americans despise Karl Rove for the damage he did while he was George W Bush's puppeteer from 2000-2008. Rightly so. Most Americans also can't stand Sarah Palin, because she talks way too much and has no intelligent things to say. Not a great combination. So, when there are 2 "bad-press" personas arguing with eachother, do 2 negatives make a positive? Is this actually a roundabout way for the Repubs to generate some positive press?

    March 18, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. TheObserver

    Palin Power I just read your post. Ha, that's a good one!

    March 18, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. retmcgd

    I get it! I finally get it! If I assume that most of these comments are representative of the majority of the country – my frustration level (nor my fears) can never subsides as I read so many slurs, insults, etc., in my vain search for substantive discussions. So when I do listen to and watch our politicians and wonder at their demonstrated inability to satisfactorily govern us all – I truly get scared: they are us!

    March 18, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Raoul Duke, Jr.

    Don't you just love cat fights?

    March 18, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. GGarcia

    And folks......the GOP had to pick Sarah Palin to represent them over the last Republican President.....because they aren't as embarrassed by her......

    Massive red flag.....

    March 18, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Stan

    The Republican 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill . . ." was invented after the Republican Party tore itself apart during Barry Goldwater's run for the nomination, and subsequent landslide loss in 1964. That was nearly 50 years ago. It's interesting to watch the party tear itself apart again. I think, in today's Republican party, Goldwater would be seen as too liberal.

    March 18, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. bill stone

    as long as these people (Rove/Palin) make headlines the Republican party will not move forward. There is no credibility to either; no honesty or integrity, nothing. Go away you two. Just go get a life. Work for charity or something but shut up.

    March 18, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Natalie

    Both are embarrassments to this country.

    March 18, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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