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 Pickles

    Couple of windbags blowing hot air at each other. One word 'irrelevant'.

    March 17, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Ram Riva

    The GOP is a complete circus....with two of its main clowns...Palin and Rove...

    March 17, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. mdud

    Republicans are what? 80% white, christian, and with so little diversity of thought they still cannot get along. Its crazy to watch. These are people who just cannot tolerate other people. This explains why they are often Rural types. They could never live in a city that has people and things that are "different"

    March 17, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. Sotzume

    When "Turd Blossom" is fighting with Sick Sarah, you know the republicans are in deep trouble....this is laughable and something that normally SNL would make up....proof that reality is really a lot stranger(and more hilarious) than fiction.

    March 17, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Bob Wilbert

    Palin & Rove... hssst !! "CAT FIGHT""

    March 17, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. John

    Republicans represent what America needs to get back on track from the obamination trek that it is currently on.

    March 17, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Todd in DC

    MDud, you are being generous. More like 90% white.

    Ram Riva, I disagree with you on 1 point: The two GOP main clowns are Palin and Trump.

    March 17, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. AEJ

    It is a shame that this woman can't hold a job. Fox News fired her. Now she is writing a Christmas book in the month of March. Why she hates work so much – only God He knows. SHE IS LAZY!!!! Period.

    March 17, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Jason Shapiro

    I love the sound of Republicans ripping into each other in the morning. It sounds like ... victory!

    March 17, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Reggie from LA

    Many of her preferred candidates went on to win, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska.
    Ted Cruz is someone's "preferred candidate"? Oh, it's about her. That'd put it in perspective.

    March 17, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. sixthromeo

    Okay, who is going to believe that Karl Rove doesn't get paid for the work he does? I don't hear or feel the rush of wind of those hands being raised. The number of people who steal money in the name of politics and call it work or volunteering is a large business; for the most part it is lobbying, having an "Institute" or a "think tank." It doesn't matter if one is Republican, Democrat, Green or Red LaRouchian; taking money to subvert the rights of the American Public is big business.

    March 17, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Lew89898s

    I don’t agree often with Sarah Palin but I do here: the system should generate candidates, whatever their political perspective, based on grass roots support and not some top down, strategy designed by what would seemingly be the 1%. As usual Karl Rove seems a bit scary to me.

    March 17, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. Anthony in California

    And these are the people who say President Obama is "dividing the country"...
    Time and time again they prove to the world that they cant even get their own house in order.. much less run the country.

    And the last time they ran the House (the purse strings) = Credit Rating dropped, Boehner gets 95% of what he wants from "fiscal cliff" deal.

    And the last time we had a Republican President = Surplus turned to Deficit, 2 Wars, Economy/Housing/Unemployment in shambles.

    These guys need to just pack it up and let the USA recover already.

    March 17, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. johnjon33

    you know things are going well when the enemy starts infighting. it's so entertaining.

    March 17, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. Scribe

    Enough of this right wing Farting Party. They all stink equally bad......

    March 17, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. aaron

    wow. i didnt think Rove coiuld ever say anything that could make me like him a little. and doint get me wrong, i still think he is an evil man who is out to destroy the country in favor of corporate control of the global economy...however:

    " 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,"

    nicely stated, mr rove.

    March 17, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. JB in PA

    A true Republican politician. A nice idea. We should try it sometime.
    The GOP could really use an intelligent candidate right now. Another Abe Lincoln to show us how to do Republican correctly. Get rid of the clowns. They have gone down the orthodox rabbit hole further and further into some warped image of conservatism. It has turned into an inquisition. It has become constant screaming and yelling like in The Crucible. Anyone who speaks even a little reason, like Chris Christie, is subjected to the witch hunt and exiled.

    March 17, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Actually, when Sarah Palin was first brought forth as a vice-presidential candidate with McCain, I thought she was a breath of fresh air, badly needed in DC. But, I also realized that she was not in any way, shape or form, ready to take on that job.

    I'm one of those pesky Independent voters. I am totally disillusioned by our current DC government, both Democrats and Republicans. I firmly believe that not one of them are working for us, the citizens, and work only for themselves.

    Sarah Palin, is a conservative in every way. So when she slams both the Democrats and the Republicans that govern our country now, I like what she has to say.

    Again, I don't believe that she is presidential material, but both and all parties might find it to their benefit to at least listen to what she has to say.

    March 17, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |

    I used to be a Republican and then along came Palin – I am now a registered Democrat. I don't hate her – but don't like her in politics.

    March 17, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |

    I forgot to add – I don't like Carl Rove either. Seems like most of the Republicans just like to talk & push and then blame it on someone else if it does not work.

    March 17, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. JD

    Two peas in a pod! Both are nobody's!

    March 17, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. Wayne Tucker

    Has been windbags.

    March 17, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. jodyhall77

    Karl Rove.....you are a loser,your "amarican Crossroad" commercials are terrible. You have no message, you are not a conservative and your repeated attacks on conservatives is despicable. You are classless and I will not be supporting anyone you try to shove down our throats. Please....GET LOST!

    March 17, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. PulSe

    Yes. Cannibalize more. Keep up the good work. Keep going in the same direction you are GOP – keep going ! Go – Go – Go !

    March 17, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. yogi

    One clown making comments on the other's clown act, how entertaining.

    March 17, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
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