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. enuff

    They both pride themselves in being rogues and rebels. They are really egotists and so full of themselves that neither one can see how they are actually perceived by regular people. They are so SELF important they they can't see beyond their own mirrors.

    March 17, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  2. Dude in Colorado

    "Papaw Nick – What has Palin ever done that is illegal or immoral besides running for vice president?"

    This is exemplory of the whole problem with the GOTP, straw man challenges and framing questions to create non-issues. Papaw, it's NOT about what if anything Palin has done that was "illegal or immoral", it about that fact that she's a complete airhead, stupid, vapid, devoid of intelligence and completely unqualified to hold public office above maybe being the mator of Wasilla, AK. Need proof? Here's the "gotcha journalism" that revealed Palin for what she is - Q: What magazines do you read to keep up with issues and form your oppinions? Palin: "Uh, all of them."

    End of story.

    March 17, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. Kartoosh

    This is much more entertaining than being eaten by a lion.......................

    March 17, 2013 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  4. Norm

    And they wonder what's wrong witht heir party.
    I'm just happy these all American patriots are a minority.
    Our country couldn't survive another Republican administration.

    March 18, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  5. David

    Run Sarah Run, please run!!!!

    March 18, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  6. seacutter

    I can remember when Sarah Palin was nothing more or less than the newly elected governor of that quirky place known as Alaska; the state which marches to it's own drummer and is decidedly not in the other America–the lower 48
    states. If she had stayed the governor of Alaska she might have had a different reputation to uphold, a conservative path but one that had substance, not a career that was cobbled together for a national campaign for higher office which went down in flames and ridicule.
    Her ascent into power and a rising star in the Republican Party only goes to show the dry rot which has infected this political system; someone who couldn't manage the day to day affairs of a city the size of Minneapolis or Portland, Oregon becomes a go-to-source as a champion for change, that maverick from the tundra. Just how decadent has this political system become; both national parties, suborned by big money, fewer new ideas, simply corrupt and bankrupt.

    March 18, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  7. LastoftheZucchiniFlowers

    This porcine dunce is OVER and so is the shrill banshee he critiques. Sad that neither Porky Pig (clever self-deprecating 'balding, fat guy') OR the low-cerebral wattage wakcy Wasilian comprehend, even now, that THEY ARE EMBLEMATIC of WHAT IS SO HORRIBLY WRONG with the GOP. That they squabble about 'playing' in the primaries is proof enough of their irrelevance. What do these two vapid cretins see when the look in the mirror? They'd both do well to take a long look at our new Secretary of Defense and LEARN how one can be in the GOP and STILL keep one's integrity. Clearly – neither have learned that lesson. Add the screechings of that labile tool,, Santorum, to their crew and you have a most foul and vile triumvirate of unendurable degeneracy.

    March 18, 2013 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Rove/Palin for president/vice-president in 2016.

    March 18, 2013 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  9. Rogue351

    The title of this article should be "A greedy, anti American, blow hard Strikes back at a person whose 15 minutes of fame was up 4 years ago and is still too stupid to know it." You would not even need to mention either of their names, people would already know exactly who the article was about. Well I guess you could substitute Donald Trump for either, but the outcome is still the same. The tea party / republican party is eating it's self from within and neither will believe it nor do they care. As long as they are making money, nothing else matters. But they ALL claim to be patriots.

    March 18, 2013 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  10. Grampa

    Wow, with all of the rotten things Rove candidates have said about their opponents in their trademark Rove negative ads, it's pretty weird seeing him get defensive over some Sarah Palin remarks. What was that story that the villain in Skyfall told about the starving rats eating each other until there was only one rat left standing? Of course, the problem for the GOP is, who is left to vote for the one rat left standing?

    March 18, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  11. noteasilyswayed

    HIlarious! Whenever I think that the GOP cannot do any worse, they outdo themselves once more..... What a joke! Paul Rand wins the straw poll, Mitt Romney (the severe conservative) returns to the stage, which reminds everyone about his stupid 47% speech and now Palin gets to take swipes at Karl Rove. They will never get my vote as long as they have such clowns as the spokespeople of the party..... 2014 is going to be really bad for them if they keep this up.

    March 18, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  12. labman57

    Palin was elected Governor of Alaska during a period of prosperity due to the overinflated prices on crude oil, and she rode the coattails of good fortune as her constituency profited while the lower 48 suffered at the gas pump.

    Well, eventually oil prices (and hence state revenues) declined, and the same constituency and legislature that had previously applauded her folksy demeanor were now scrutinizing her ethics and management style more carefully.

    According to some members of the Alaskan state legislature as well as key Republican consultants, strategists, and advisors who had to interact with Sarah during McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, Palin has a very short attention span and would often rapidly lose interest in the discussions during important meetings.

    She seemed to lack the self-discipline necessary to get through the numerous mundanities required of the Governor. As a VP candidate, she rarely bothered to do her homework in preparation for an interview and to this day lacks the intellectual curiosity needed to fully understand the issues affecting the American people.

    After her unsuccessful run for national office, she was entangled in frequent confrontations with the state legislative body on various contentious appointments that she had made. And once she lost support of many of the Republican state legislators over her refusal to accept the federal stimulus funding, she decided that being Governor just wasn't any fun anymore. (She actually alluded to this realization in one episode of her self-absorbed Alaskan infomercial series on TLC.)

    Rather than get another political black eye and watch her declining public support among her fellow Alaskans plummet further, she decided to bail on her constituency and seek greener (as in $$) pastures in the lower 48.

    Sarah Palin doesn't want to be a serious politician. She only wants to play one on T.V.

    March 18, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  13. Katrina

    hahahahaha..... look at these two little "community organizers" swiping at each other. GOP is for Greedy Oblivious Pigs. And let's not forget that, according to legend, it is the devil himself who sits at the Crossroads waiting to make deals with ambitious fools. That must really irk the Wicked Witch of the North!

    March 18, 2013 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  14. Thomas

    Both should buck up , stay in the truck. And don't stop till they get to Panama . And never come back.

    Palin and Rove 2016
    Big Gulp and Viagra

    March 18, 2013 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  15. Mark

    To see these two snipe at each other snipe at each other is both comical and a reflection of the divisions within the GOP party. Still, in reading Rove's responses – love him or hate him – she is no match for Rove.

    March 18, 2013 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  16. TexasAnnie

    Karl Rove– are you seriously trying to say you're a "volunteer" & don't get paid any money? Do you think we were all born yesterday? I don't know how you've got your deals set up, but darlin', I do know you're raking in millions. If you should read this, you know who I am & you know that you're lying. And most importantly, you know that I know. Annie

    March 18, 2013 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Typical Palin nonsense-speak. She says, "Buck up or stay in the truck. Buck up and run." Buck up means to fight on, sit in the truck means you are scared. Ok, but then she says "buck up and run" That doesn't make sense. How can you fight and run? She is the retarded gift that keeps on giving!

    March 18, 2013 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  18. Scott

    I just love all if the in-fighting amongst the conservatives. Keep it coming!

    March 18, 2013 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  19. Hep

    Tigers eating their own

    March 18, 2013 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  20. rickinmo

    Palin was the most incompetent VP candidate ever to run and Rove is only interested in putting republicans in office regardless of their intelligence or qualifications. Rove helped get W into the White House and after all of his mistakes and lies he helped Bush a second time. Obviously he doesn't care what he does to the country. Conservatism doesn't work. What the republicans need is a complete overhaul and Rove and Palin should be the first to go.

    March 18, 2013 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  21. Larry Sunde

    I do have to admit I enjoy watching these two take potshots at each other. Don't like either one but at least Rove does more then sit up in Alaska and make millions off the gullible. I wait breathlessly for Palin's Christmas book

    March 18, 2013 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  22. Rocko

    Nothing would make me happier then to have Sarah Palin as this countries president.....2016 would do just fine.... Because she is Sarah, she would get millions in free media time.......Sarah's bus tour was media gone wild, following her on ground and in air.... Really, they had helicopters following her, who else is that important to warrant the cost to send out the troops like that?.... She even tried to lose them but could not..

    Poor Romney made his announcement to run and she got the crowds...She even got the front page above the fold of the Union Leader and Mitt only got a small space....

    If she ran, it would be a bonanza for the media...Rush, Breitbart, Tony Lee and all conservative talk radio would praise her night and day..

    After Allen West was fully vetted and comes out clean, he should be considered for Sarah's VP... No one has been vetted like Sarah, ever, 24,000 emails exposed and she comes out smelling like a ROSE.....

    She would for sure give the Dems the election if she lead a third party..... It would serve the free-holes that call themselves Republican, like Karl Rove right...

    The video below is from The Right Scoop about Palin..Well worth the time to watch..


    March 18, 2013 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  23. CTYank

    Pathetic, simply pathetic. Absolutely no concern except about their financiers. Rove simply a "volunteer"? Really?
    Carry on with the circular firing squad, and pass the popcorn.

    (We've got to get all this money out of elections, and Fox propaganda too.)

    March 18, 2013 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  24. Pfoq Hugh

    Although they're obviously made for each other, I believe Rove and Palin should be barred from getting married. That's because I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Not between two clowns. America is not ready for clown marriage yet.

    March 18, 2013 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  25. Solomon Walker

    I'm already sick of these want-to-be presidential candidates, and it's only 2013!

    March 18, 2013 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
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