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. JB in PA

    What, there is a balding fat guy glass ceiling? Don't set your own limits Karl. Chris Christie is working on breaking that ceiling.

    March 17, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Bobaloobob

    Rove V Palin, don't you just love it.

    March 17, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Suzy

    Karl, please shut up. You've done enough damage.

    March 17, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. Joey

    Wow, repukes are going after each other's throats, and I like........................it very much.!

    March 17, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. ted

    Rove and Palin for GOP prez/veep in 2016. best guarantee of yet another democrat landslide.

    March 17, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Papaw Nick

    Ashley is doing the liberal political trash of people. Trying to get them to fight between themselves. Ouestion for the media and others : What has Palin ever done that is illegal or immoral besides running for vice president? Just the true facts please.

    March 17, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. Told You So

    I'm starting with the man in the mirror....(in my best Michael Jackson voice)

    March 17, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Fair swipes. On the other hand, there is no question Rove miscalculated the last election, pretty significantly.

    March 17, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Mr. Moderate

    Notice how Rove said he does not take a penny from American Crossroads, he did not mention Crossroads GPS. C'mon Carl, we know you have the system rigged to enrich yourself to great extent.

    March 17, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Gene

    The media creates dissension where there is really none. No, Libby, the Republican party is not dissolving.

    March 17, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. TM

    When Dr. Frankenstein decides to pick a fight with the Monster, who do you cheer for? Rove elevated to single most inept and unqualified politician in our country's history to the highest elected office in the land. He made it acceptable to consider candidates like GWB as qualified for office. A vapid imbecile like Sarah Palin is the inevitable result of Rove's "genius". Seeing her raise a "big gulp" a CPAC in some idiotic protest was beyond pathetic, but perfectly fitting for her. Just like that drink, she is loaded with empty calories, induces a brief sugar rush but no lasting energy, and rots away any living tissue she comes in contact with. Let the Grand Old Tea Party continue to sing her praises, right into defeat in the next election cycle.

    March 17, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. works4me

    Just consider the source... from the both of them. They should be shock jocks. It's a pity that the GOP can't get out of the Rove Rut or the Palin Pass, but I don't mind... at all. These idiots are stacked up like cord wood in the Republican Party.

    March 17, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Getoverit

    Rove and Palin for GOP prez/veep in 2016. best guarantee of yet another democrat landslide.
    Another democrat landslide? When was the last one? And please don't say Obama.....

    March 17, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. kaemicha

    Ha! I love it! Two totally inept people going at it in the media. Rove and Palin? Who woulda thot?? 😉

    March 17, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. Shay

    I can't believe people would waste their time listening to Rove or Palin! Sarah is pathetic! Do the republicans REALLY think Palin has something intelligent to say? Is the republican party that hard up????? Palin is divisive and is just plain ignorant!! Republicans, you keep listening to Sarah and you will continue to be on the outside looking inside of the White House! LOL

    March 17, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Jay Arr

    Keep it up Sarah. Your twisted view of America is the exact reason you all lost. You lie, you distort, you dishonor the truth. Your beliefs are narrow minded, ignorant of reality. Go back to Alaska. You were a quitter in your last job. You didn't have the guts to run for president in 2012 because you knew your qualifications would never win any majority. You help make the Republican party look pathetic. Keep it up.

    March 17, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. works4me

    Nice one!

    March 17, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. GOP = Greed Over People

    This tiff brings back fond, forgotten memories of "if I have to stop this car..."

    March 17, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. jtnalger@gmail.com

    Plain and simple; another conservative self-destruction again! They didn't get it right in the 50's, they mucked up in the 60's and so it goes! You fools will never learn!

    March 17, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    Can't wait for Tea Partiers and moderate establishment Republicans to take off the gloves and go bare fists against each other. Hope it will be bitter, bloody, and ugly as they take no prisoners. Who says politics isn't a contact sport?

    March 17, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. GOP = Greed Over People

    Are these two, actually squabbling over the imaginary "heart" of the GOP?

    March 17, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Don't know what he says

    Two of the dim wits from the republican party want to have a mud fight? Palin goes around the country getting paid to attend "grassroot" candidates and she complains about another nerd who is paid to run a PAC. They both would be wise to just shut up and disappear, but then again, they keep us liberals amused at just how much of a circus the republican party has become.

    March 17, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Robert William

    The people have spoken in/re both Palin and Rove, and Rove's backers. What they said was "no". I can explain that if it is too hard to understand.

    March 17, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. CedarRapids

    'Papaw Nick – Ashley is doing the liberal political trash of people. Trying to get them to fight between themselves.'

    Unless Ashley forced Palin and Rove to say those things then Ashley didnt get anyone to fight anyone, they are doing a fine job on their own.

    March 17, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Stephen Colbert put it best when describing Karl Rove as an "un-lanced boil."

    March 17, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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