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. Pinche

    Repuke on Repuke violence. Hilarious!!
    Only better when they try to out-conserve each other!

    March 17, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. Name

    Love sarah to death, i wish some of the men in her party had some guts.

    March 17, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  3. Deathstalker74

    mdud, funny how you talk about intolerance from the right while you simultaneously mock rural people. Typical.

    March 17, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |

    First of all, I tired of Palin being called "Gov. Palin", shouldn't she be honestly called 'Half Gov. Palin". Besides that fact, why does the media quote anything she says, her 15 minutes were up hours ago. Please do us all a favor and not report on her inane statements and thoughts any more.

    March 17, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  5. Deathstalker74

    The GOP may be a circus but at least there are different ideas being tossed around. On the other hand, the Progressives either get in line or they are threatened by the Administration. That much became evident during this past election. Every time a Dem went against Obama or contradicted one of his lies, they were immediately forced to retract the comment. If you're into fascism, I guess you rather like this type of behavior.

    March 17, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Do people still "diss" each other, I thought that expression died with the last miillenium.

    March 17, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. bobhamiltonchicago

    Rove? Palin? Santorum? Gingrich? Conservatives still trying to direct the party?...The party is over. I did like watching Sarah swallow that big gulp. She looked very comfortable doing that in front of a camera and live audience. I watched it 14 times.

    March 17, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. tttcaros

    Fat boy's 5 minutes of fame are up.

    He's the one responsible for that lunatic Bush getting elected.

    March 17, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  9. jim

    two mental midgets going at it. lol

    March 17, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  10. sadlyperturbed

    Yes, the GOP is that hard up that the best speaker they could find was Palin. If you look at the party realistically, the best they have is Christie, and they are mad at him for thanking Obama after Sandy came to town. They are cutting off their nose to spite their face, and the results are disastrous for them. My guess is they will come around to Christie as their choice before 2016 but until then, they will continue to in-fight and NOTHING will get done by Congress until we change that. 2014 is the next chance to find a group of people who will work for America and not their petty party interests.

    March 17, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  11. Biff Omney

    Sarah Palin completely misread the election. The Republicans lost because their base made it impossible for Romney to run on his record.

    March 17, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  12. RKN

    The republicans are eating each other. Fun to watch – but pathetic.

    March 17, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. snarkosaurus

    In this case, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

    March 17, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Two minor footnotes in history trying to hang on. Go away.

    March 17, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. DocHollywood

    What's the difference between Karl Rove and Sarah Palin? One brain cell.

    March 17, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. Smeagel4T

    Oh no!!! Look what happens when a self-righteous group starts breaking up into different self-righteous factions. The GOP's "us versus them" mentality has alienated everyone outside the GOP, so now it's proceeding to "us versus them" inside the GOP. Eventually each individual person inside the GOP will have sunk to the level of "me versus everyone else".

    March 17, 2013 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  17. lcleejr

    sleazy on one side and a moron on the other. bill maher will have a field day with both.

    March 17, 2013 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Good one Carl, finally a republican tells Palin what a quitter she is ,was , could be again .

    March 17, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  19. K. in Miami

    It's absolutely unbelievable that I would live to see the day that Karl Rove HAD to defend his self against Sarah Palin. This woman is a complete JOKE, all the nonsense she's spewed since John McCain gave birth to her ENSURES she will NEVER be taken seriously by the people that decide elections in this country.

    To see a Party that celebrates personalities and ignorance is sad, this Republican party is so extremely out of touch with the majority in it is mind boggling, I hope they never change.

    March 17, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  20. oakhill

    I'm getting a kick out of the posts I see here tonight. I have never been a fan of Palin's, and wish Rove would shut up and go home – he and ALL his cronies epitomize everything that went wrong with the Republican Party, and why so many have become Independents, but the bulk of you here tonight illustrate something else entirely – a complete inability to grasp what's gone wrong with both parties, and the rather glaring reality that neither party currently has the ability to lead this country out of the mess it is mired in that was created by DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS!!! That said, there's promise in a couple of the younger up and comings in the GOP, and while the older GOP hasn't yet figured out they need to retire from politics and get out of the way, a lot of you here haven't figured out that dissing the other party, name calling, mud-slinging and blind allegiance to the current crowd in Washington isn't going to solve anything either. Wake up people.

    March 17, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  21. nolamike

    mdud...I am white and Christian, and have lived the last 30 years of my life living in two of the most diverse cities in America..Miami and New Orleans. What this has taught me, and would be a great lesson for you to learn, is that you shouldn't judge people by the color of their skin or their religious preference. People like you have given arise to the term "overeducated liberal".

    March 17, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  22. Rove2016

    Keep going, Palin & Rove, keep going! The more you two tak, the less votes the GOP gets. Keep going, you two are doing great!!!

    March 17, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  23. JoyA

    I just freaking love watching the GOP tear itself to bits with all their infighting and butt-biting. Palin and her tea party is doing a great job of splintering the party. Go, Sarah!!

    March 17, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  24. Don

    The piranas are feeding on each other

    March 17, 2013 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  25. BeverlyNC

    Rove is about 5 years too late in telling the truth about Palin..Her candidiacy was the first step off the cliff into the abyss of Republican extremism. bigoty, hate, obstructionism, and betrayal of the American People. They have no conscience when it comes to lies, cheating, voter suppression targeting minorities, and absolutey no values regarding economic or social justice. Republicans are completely committed to destroying the middle class, the poor, the elderly and all just to continue tax loopholes and taxpayer-funded subsidies to corporations and entire industries like oil, sugar, corn, and the meat producers.
    Come 2014 we have a terrfifc chance to take all Republicans in the House, and even more in the Senate. We can then do real work to restore the nation and care for ALL the People who deserve education, healthcare, the Medicare and the Social Security they paid for; compassion for those in need who already work 40 hours a week for a minimum wage no person could feed and house a family on.
    President Obama's agenda addresses the most critical needs of the People – jobs, job training, education, healthcare, a higher minimum wage so the poor can have the change to leave poverty behind., research, innovation, energy alternatives, and infrastructure just so we can catch up with European nations.
    Republicans have lost the trust of the American People and using new words to explain their same failed policies will end in the same result of large defeats of every Republican candidate.Republicans have no idea of how far from reality they are. All that is in their future is defeat.

    March 17, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
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