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. Joey

    Is he still counting vote?

    March 17, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Rove got bush elected for two terms with gop propaganda based on fear and destroyed the economic and has blood on his hands for the death of American troops and we don't need a rerun , no thanks , blame the whole gop ,not just rove!!!!!

    March 17, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  3. Doug Danford

    I have been become so disillusioned with my party over the past 30 years. First we sold out to big spending, then we sold out to wacky evangelical manipulators, then we sold out to big corporations and now we are standing against anyone who doesn't think money is the magic of human existence. I am disgusted with the GOP leadership in the House and the Senate and I am disgusted with the "News" stations that have joined with them to terrorize Americans with fear of anybody that doesn't agree with them.

    This country does not look anything like 1776. It looks more like George Orwell's 1984 and even Animal Farm. In some ways I am really glad to be leaving this planet in the next 10 to 15 years. We have lost all sense of how to be human.

    March 17, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. ameehol

    I think Karl Rove is a secret democrat, It seems like he is always doing something to make the conservatives look bad, I don't like Palin either, but let the people decide, they are smarter than HE thinks.

    March 17, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Jake

    Karl Rove may be an architect, but Sarah Palin can't even figure out how to put a set of Lego's together. The Republicans are eating their own, and I sit here and LAUGH, LAUGH, LAUGH at them all.

    March 17, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Jane

    Intolerant?? Funny, the First Amendment haters who want to shut down Limbaugh, Fox News, etc. are always liberal Democrats.

    March 17, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. mountainlady

    I NEVER thought I'd see the day that I agreed with anything Karl Rove had to say, but he does a pretty classy job of refuting Palin's vitriol. Refreshing to see in the GOP. I frankly wish Cariboo Barbie would shut up and stay home or start her own church and stay out of politics. She represents the hypocritical worst of the Tea Bagging Republicans.

    March 17, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Bill

    "So little diversity of thought that they still cannot get along." Diversity of thought clearly causes people to agree. That makes total sense. The reason democrats agree on everything must be their insane amounts of diversity of thought! "I think Republicans are all ignorant and stereotype everything!" "So do I, but I also think they all hate women, gay people, and the environment! Since you didn't mention our talking point before me, we clearly have diversity of thoughts. We didn't think the same thing at the same time!" Nice job being stereotypical and intolerant of another idea. It's very progressive of you! Just a little more progress and your kampf, er, struggle will be over. Your idea will be the only one left, and everyone will share the world. Ever read The Giver? They were all pretty happy. At least no one was sad. If only that little Republican kid hadn't gone and screwed everything up! So little diversity of thought.

    March 17, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    While I appreciate that Karl Rove fully understands that the crazies have taken over his party, it's too bad he sat back and cheered them on when he needed their votes. As did everyone else on that side of stupid. Eventually even he will have to admit that for the Grand Old Party to move forward, they are going to have to work with, not against President Obama. To continue the obstruction and the hate rhetoric will be the end of the Grand Old Party.

    So, what am I going to do? Sit back, munch the popcorn, and clap my hands every now and again at the stupidity that has become the Grand Old Party of delusion and no new ideas.

    March 17, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. Yati

    These darn republicans, they say the darnest things.

    Sarah Palin, "I can see Russia from my backyard".

    Christine O' Donnell, "I dabbled in witcraft, but never joined a coven.

    Mitchell Bachman, "HPV vaccine makes you retarded".

    I won't let these folks near my children, let alone govern the country!

    March 17, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Jonathan

    You just gave people in rural areas an insult. I live in Vermont, one of he most rural states, and I completely disagree with almost anything the GOP and T.P. are doing, saying, or believing. Being "rural" isn't being "stupid". The GOP and the T.P. are. And, by the way, if Bernie Sanders is a "rural type", what are "city slickers" like?

    March 17, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. amazing

    Rove does not live in Washington but he is clearly part of the Washington establishment that is destroying this country with their extreme partisanship. Palin is simply Donald Trump in a female form. No substance in all the noise out their mouths.

    March 17, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. Steven Colo

    These people are adults, right?

    March 17, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  14. Ed

    The far far right and the far far far right are battling for control of the GOP

    March 17, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  15. Pat in IL

    I'm not a fan of Rove, but he is far more intelligent than Palin, so should have known that her remarks were so stupid that they did not deserve a response.

    March 17, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Name Elizabeth

    Blah blah blah. Pay me more money! She should go back to her view of Russia. What a joke.

    March 17, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Dave

    Canada here.....It seems to me that the GOP wants you to stay in the 1950's .....and pretend the world is not changing.

    March 17, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  18. Mindie in Indie

    it really doesn't matter who or what the republicans come up with – people don't forget their disgusting and sleezy ways.
    Hillary will be our next President.

    March 17, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. Pres

    McCain introduced stupid Palin to the USA. While Karl Rove made the stupid fool Bush to be President. So Karl Rove is worse than Palin.

    March 17, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. fmvn

    Republicans are people, people who love their country! Palin's right and Rove knows it! Rove is a dud!!!

    March 17, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. Chipster

    Maybe Palin should try ridin' through town, ringin' them bells, and warnin' the British that they can't take away our guns! LOL! Question: Where did this dim-wit learn history? Answer: Nowhere! You'd think a "Tea Party" member would at least know that it was all about a tax on tea, not guns. I've really miss Sarah – never have I laughed so much over political speeches. Rove & Palin should take this comedy show on the road.

    March 17, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. jmacsolb

    Who is Sarah Palin?

    March 17, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Mike

    Why are either of these people news?

    March 17, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  24. MaryM

    More clowns, We need more clowns

    March 17, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  25. Mike

    As Mr.Pickles says, irrelevant!

    March 17, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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