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. sailscycle


    Your comments are entirely racist. What is a rural type? You are saying Republicans are people that cannot tolerate other people while you are calling out Republicans as rural types as if it is a bad thing based on their location. For one that accuses people of being intolerant you seem like you are not tolerant of rural types, whites or Christians.

    March 17, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  2. Harry Kuheim

    You go Girl! Rove has no track record worth bragging about...

    March 17, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. Jim

    I've always admired people who have the intellect and maturity to engage others with respect in order to examine issues from all sides, to identify problems and to find solutions. They see various shades of grey and color in the world. They usually live in peace. Others, lacking in intellect and maturity see everything as black and white, they are ego driven claiming to know it all, are uncompromising, linear in nature and always looking for a fight or are at war. These to fit well into the second group.

    March 17, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. gahh

    Rove and his conservative groups spent 4 hundred million dollars trying to buy votes for the Republicans running in the 2012 elections. The problem is, there's not enough money to pay people to deliberately cut their own throats. A vote for Republicans and their take care of the wealthy attitude, at the expense of the poor and middle classes, disgusts the majority of the American voters. Karl Rove disgusts the majority of the American voters.

    March 17, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Matt Lechner

    The reality is both Rove and Palin make very valid and worthwhile contributions to the Republican Party and related Tea Party interests. Rove is highly knowledgeable about American national politics, and experienced in that sphere – and a well balanced good person. Palin brings a lot of enthusiasm and can-do mentality to her efforts in politics, which have not been insignificant, and she has a clear ability to generate constructive energy in a group setting. If they are not 100% aligned with their goals and tactics, that is not a problem -- it is a big world and there is plenty of room for both of them. That also is likely to be advantageous to the GOP / Tea Party interests, and beneficial to the USA as well, which is the basic idea.

    March 17, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Olaf Big

    Make no mistake, both Palin and Rove are on the wrong side of political divide, but at least Rove has some brains.

    March 17, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  7. paul

    It is so crazy to me why the GOP cannot see why they have become absolutely shamful,its because of the idiocy of palin and rove.Palin gets up there with a big gulp,which is obviously a prop because any real political discourse is way beyond her.And Rove cannot keep his feet out of his right wing hole in his head.When will the GOP move away from the stupidity of these far right goons?..hopefully they all just continue to move in ever diminshing circles until they dissappear up their own butts

    March 17, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. oncampusandonline

    Palin and Rove are funnier than Cheech and Chong.

    March 17, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. bob goodspeed

    ALL Coments that I have read are from liberals. Conclusion.........CNN is a liberal network having liberals commenting.

    March 17, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. Ron

    Have you ever seen all of the hundreds and hundreds of little fundamentalist churches? The reason there are so many is that they can't stand each other–they disagree on a couple of points and splinter into tiny groups–each little group claiming to be the only "right" or genuine Christians. Well, the right-wing Republicans are fundamentalists too. Each little group has the only "right" way to be a Republican. Maybe they will continue to splinter until they are no longer relevant.

    March 17, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. jwd

    mdud your comment is an excercise in irony. You exhibit racism, religious intolerance, stereotyping, ignorance... and you finish it all off by illustrating, painfully.. your inability to "look in the mirror", so-to-speak.

    I only have one question: Do you ever, you know.. go outside?

    As for the article.. sigh.

    Welcome to America.

    March 17, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. Indeigrl

    If the GOP cannot marginalize Palin, Bachman, Santorum, TRUMP, and the like, they will lose again in 2016, and open the doors for Democrats to finish creation of their 3rd rate United Welfare States of America. Fool proof recipe for EVERYONE to work half the year for the Feds: Implement national health care with NO cost controls is a country with a 30.6% obesity epidemic, a 16.4 trillion debt, 7.8% unemployment, and it's largest generation in history entering an entitlement system on the brink of bankruptcy.

    March 17, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  13. Texas

    Just like Cockroaches, they eat their own....

    March 17, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  14. dan

    one has-been bickering about another has-been. Kinda funny.

    March 17, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. BigSir

    Karl Rove and Sarah Palin; quite a conservative brain trust there.

    March 17, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. robertjwade1cardog

    The CPAC get together truely proved why this bunch had their behinds handed to them November 6th, 2012. None are viable, none offered one idea that made sense, none stood apart to give America a choice. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz were the darlings at the ball, yet neither one of these little twerps will ever see the inside of the White House as president.

    March 17, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. Benjamin

    That's why the Republicans can never win the votes of the Asians, Hispanics and Black people. People like Palin, Rove, and other neo-conservatives Republicans are what drive the people away from their party. You add the Tea Party Talibans in their mold and you have the worst party the U.S. has ever had today. I miss the party of Lincoln which stood really for the people. God bless the USA with these Retardlicans in Congress.

    March 17, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. Facts don't Lie

    Karl and Sarah get a room and fight it out......neither one of you are really relevant. Palin did what she does best for the past 6 years attack the president from afar and act lke a sore loser. This is what's wrong with the GOP but they just turn a blind eye to it

    March 17, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. Buffy

    Wouldn't Rove and Palin make a cute pair? Maybe they will become a twosome. Cutiest pair! Right?

    March 17, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. G

    Bleep bloop, they add nothing of substance to the world

    March 17, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. Rick Patel

    Pudgy no-neck Karl Rove is a Bush shoe-shine boy who isn't fit to clean the mud off Gov. Sarah Palin's hunting boots.

    March 17, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    They're playing alright. With our very existence. Not funny, either of them.

    March 17, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. Phattee

    The GOP started as a political party, but by now it has devolved into a collection of warring factions and assorted hate groups. These people cannot offer a viable alternative to the Democratic party, much less a credible set of leaders for the country.

    March 17, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. John

    Like two ogres devouring each other. Cute and poignant.

    March 17, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  25. olivia

    Two GOP, CPAC losers! Where is Palin's bus? I thinki she's been inhaling fumes from her bus. The CPACs were throwing dirt on each other and were not organized. I agree with mdud.

    March 17, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
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