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. dslocum

    Neither Rove nor Palin is fit for public office. Both care little about the people – they are total narcissists who excel at creating diviseiveness. That's not a recipe for progress!!! Palin was a train wreck in Alaska. Rove was aptly called "Turd Blossom" by Bush because he is a turd!

    March 17, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  2. Tychi

    "Many of her (Palin's) preferred candidates went on to win" Now that really says how bad and desperate the GOP is to get into office.

    March 17, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. snowdogg

    "Rove now runs American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, two independent groups that spent money for conservative candidates in last year's contests"

    Genius Rove blew more than $650 million to no avail.... poor thing.

    March 17, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    The fact remains that had the establishment candidates in the GOP not been out-hustled by the Tea Party in both 2010 and especially 2012, they would be in the driver's seat. The Nevada, Delaware, Alaska, and Colorado Senate races would have been easy pickups for the GOP: instead, this fratricidal warfare broke out, warfare that continued in 2012 with Mourdock and Akin losing races they should have won: IN would have been an easy seat to defend with Luger, and instead they ran a man who embarrassed himself and his party with tone-deaf comments. Palin have pulled the party into an imitation of the Democrats in the 1970s and 80s, more concerned about ideological purity than governing. We are dealing with a GOP that is more tone -deaf than the Soviet Union to reality, and the depth of proud ignorance on display at CPAC shows this. There is no way a clown like Donald Trump or a person who turned her back on her oath of office like Palin would have ever been invited to CPAC with an important speaking slot, much less regarded as an influential figure in the conservative movement. The proud display of ignorance and a deaf ear to reality shown by most of their speakers only shows how intellectually and morally bankrupt the Right has become. Its a sorry gathering of a movement that has chosen to be in decline, rather than deal with reality.

    March 17, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  5. Calcommuter

    The NRA spoke at CPAC. Should tell you the Reps really dont know how the country is leaning. Inviting Caribou Barbie and NOT Chris Christie? He should be the face of Republicans, not the isolationist Rand Paul. The Reps want to send a different message so they can win elections. But they are showing nothing has changed. Changing the message to sell the same bad ideas is still bad. Rove should do what Skippy Bush did. Leave Washington and never be heard from again.

    March 17, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. sad day at the movies

    Its time for the old guard in both parties to step aside. They are both wasteful and out for nothing but power. We the people should demand better !

    March 17, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Larry L

    The factions of the feuding GOP were in a way created by Karl Rove and friends. Rove is enough of a strategist to do the math – you can't win elections with votes from only the top 10% of the income bracket. But that is the group Rove has always represented and their goals and ideologies are vastly different from the remainder of the white population of America – the traditional Republican base. So Rove et. al. learned to fire up the masses with hot-button issues about gays, guns and god and via media outlets like Fox News, they whipped them into a frenzy of hate. But the social conservative wackos got too crazy and Rove discovered they couldn't win the general election with crazy bigots. Ironic since Rove's buddies funded the "grass roots" Tea Party from it's inception. So now Rove's boys are too moderate for the mindless radicals they created and moderates are running from the GOP! Now that's just too funny!

    March 17, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  8. BrightStar

    If a balding, fat guy is unconducive to winning please explain all the balding, fat guys serving in Congress.

    March 17, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  9. Teabags falling off cliffs

    @Dr Matrix:I can tell you that Ted Bundy could get elected there by running as a Republican, and that's after his conviction.

    In Texas we got Cruz elected senator. Bundy would have to wait in line to get to the hog trough. We are picky, he probably would not get the call from the kingmakers of Texas Tealand.

    March 17, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  10. Diane

    And they STILL do not get it! The 2014 mid-terms will wipe some Repubs out as will 2016. Then this country can move forward.

    March 17, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  11. Peter Gerdeman

    Well, Palin couldn't finish her only term as Governor – so why does anybody listen to this loser?

    March 17, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  12. noodles2loud

    Please continue the circular firing squad.

    March 17, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  13. J2

    Shrieking banshee v. Baby Huey

    March 17, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  14. heliocracy

    This is a struggle in the GOP between people who know that some liberalism is required to successfully run a modern industrial nation, and those who couldn't define the word "liberal," but think it's somehow related to Josef Stalin.

    March 17, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  15. heliocracy

    This is a struggle in the GOP between people who know that some liberalism is required to successfully run a modern industrialized nation, and those who couldn't define the word "liberal," but think it's somehow related to the old Soviet Union.

    March 17, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  16. jake

    Since when does half term palin have any credibility to comment on any other person? She has made a fool of herself at every turn especially when she goes on her mumbling rants. I love watching the vein in her head get bigger when she gets all flustered. I find it amusing when these gop right wing nut bags go at each other. Attacking Obama didn't do them any good as they got whooped last 2 elections so they go at each other like rabid dogs. Can't wait to see this skit on SNL.

    March 17, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  17. Quixote

    Rove is a disgusting piece of filth. The stuff you wipe from the bottom of you shoes. But even he is far more qualifiedthan palin.

    March 17, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  18. NotFooledByDistractions

    Palin is still an idiot. Reading teleprompter jokes off a teleprompter. She's nothing but a grifter.

    March 17, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  19. g

    sounds like a republican cage match coming up –karl-palin-bets please

    March 17, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  20. lac

    Too funny, just too damn funny. These two clowns....I'm hoping that neither one gets out of politics............for the comedic value alone, they are priceless.

    March 17, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. plain&simple

    Add anyone like Bachmann or Perry or .....you pick and it the Three Stogges !!!

    March 17, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  22. RayJacksonMS

    I know how to solve this. Put them both in a room together, and give them boards with nails in them. Then brick up the door.

    March 17, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  23. dapace

    Pass the popcorn...

    March 17, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  24. Floyd from Illinois

    Watching the GOP infighting is pocorn time.

    March 17, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  25. JOE B

    Rove is everything that is wrong with the Republican Party. People like him, Norquist, Hannity, Romney, Limbaugh and Boehner and McConnell represent everything I detest about the Republican Party yet I am a true, conservative Republican. Thy are ALL liberal Republicans intent on keeping the corporate welfare machine going, the endless wars, the policies of giving Americans' hard earned money to the biggest banks and the political party that forces the IRS to look away when people like Romney hide their millions in places like the Canary Islands. I know of only one conservative Republican in office that represents the voice of Abraham Lincoln and that is Rand Paul.

    March 17, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
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