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. Phi Thomas

    I love it when two vultures go after the same carcass

    March 18, 2013 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  2. Michael

    Gotta love republicans eating their own.

    March 18, 2013 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  3. Eric L Ewing

    The problem that the Republican party will loose the next 2 presidential elections due to not working the local levels. We do not have the 3% needed in the swing states too win the election. We may control the congress but due to 8% of the Christian right not voting other demographics are kicking in for that % needed to win an election.

    March 18, 2013 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  4. Gaunt

    "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."

    Oh, Snap.
    When even other Republicans are commenting on bailin' palin, you know she's been reduced below irrelevancy.

    March 18, 2013 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  5. acedog

    That's how screwed up the Republican party is...they don't even get along with each other!

    March 18, 2013 05:15 am at 5:15 am |
  6. Brad

    Man I love it when these guys go after each other!!!!

    March 18, 2013 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  7. Vader

    They eat their own.

    March 18, 2013 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  8. Eduardo Garcia

    Obviously, both are now secret operatives for the Democratic Party. Rove and Palin both probably have the same marching orders from President Obama: Divide and conquer. And since less affluent Republicans have been held together for the past 40 or more years by the mantra, guns, god, small government, and no gays; while rich Republicans have taken tax cuts and invested in multinational stocks for companies that have gutted millions of high paying American jobs for more profitable low paying foreign jobs, less affluent Republicans have become easier to convince to stay home during elections, or vote democrat, like their parents before them. Particularly as gays have become more mainstream, even among some Republicans. Guns have reached their practical limits in private hands. Reagan, and both Bush's did almost nothing to reduce the size of government. And it seems like everyone, left and right, now invokes God on a regular basis. The job of tearing down the Republican fabric of unity is actually easier than ever.

    March 18, 2013 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  9. bill

    Shame on you Carl Rove for legitimizing Sarah Palin. Her hate filled one liners only serve to create conflict. Her constant disrespect for the President is obviously because she wanted the VP spot but he and Biden won the election. She wants to be noticed (even if it means lying) so that she can get another reality TV show or be payed to appear on Fox News.
    Nothing new here, just another person seeking fame and fortune any way they can get it.

    March 18, 2013 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  10. bear

    Any truth to the rumor that the last time Sarah took an I.Q. test she owed them points.

    March 18, 2013 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  11. Gurgyl

    Pathetic guy in 21st century–he needs to grow up–not grow fat. Learn no one cares of color.

    March 18, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  12. Jack

    Everyone in this group has foot and mouth disease! Ow, the blood bath has begun! Their is not an good communicator among them! Not one visionary! All I heard and saw a bunch of down in the mouth whiners. I was hoping for better as an Independent!

    March 18, 2013 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  13. zanny

    Way to say it Mdud What is also true is that the only network that gives them any credibility is the most unfair and biased network – Fox entertainment. If I were the Justice Department, I think I would investigate Karl Rove and what exactly he does with this money he rakes in from fools who have more money than good sense. Who pronounced him head of the Reublican party and what gives him the right to choose candidates. Rove and Palin need to go away. Their fifteen minutes of fame are over.

    March 18, 2013 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  14. NotARepublicanToday

    The GOP should be making itself flexible enough to accommodate popular candidates rather than trying to bend popular candidates into the distorted shape that the GOP has made itself into. Romney should have won the presidency with ease, but his GOP handlers wouldn't let him. The party needs a genuine makeover. Start with losing goons like these two. I would love to have the choice of two parties when election time arrives. It's what promises to keep our political system viable. I voted for Obama partly for his positions, and partly as a vote against the GOP and their sickening rhetoric. Clean it up!

    March 18, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  15. BubblesB

    Sarah Palin is such a hyporctite. She tells President Obama to do his job when she's the one who walked away from her job as Governor of Alaska rather than doing her job. Every time she opens her mouth, the Republican Party suffers a drop in popularity. Just shut up already.

    March 18, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  16. bassman

    For eight years during the Bush term our media crucified Mr. Rove. But the minute he attacks a Republican, his word comes from the hill top. As long as he attacks Republicans or media love him.

    March 18, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  17. BigGuy

    "Republicans stand for raw, unbridled evil and greed and ignorance smothered in balloons and ribbons.”
    ― Frank Zappa

    March 18, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  18. Brons69

    They both suck!

    March 18, 2013 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  19. t

    ..........I am OVER 60 (that's all ya need to know), white, male, retired, moderately educated,.......and I ...............WAS A REPUBLICAN. I wanted the picture painted by Eisenhower, Nixon (BEFORE HIS ESCAPADES), and even Reagan.
    ......................and THAT is why I have voted Democratic since W. Bush's second term run...............

    March 18, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  20. RES

    they eat their own

    March 18, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  21. Steve

    I think what the Republican party has is called schizophrenia. Good example of Christian moral values. Name calling...... What would Jesus do?

    March 18, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  22. Mike F

    I'll give one good guy check to Mr. Rove for this one. This check is good for ten of the many bad guy checks I've given him in the past.

    It would be optimistic to believe Mrs. Palin's popularity is that of a clown or comedian.

    March 18, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  23. Jeff

    Wow, for a while there I forgot these people were even a little bit relevant.

    March 18, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  24. BrendaMor

    Haha... I've been saying this forever. "...if did run for office and win, I would serve out my term. I wouldn't leave office midterm," I am a conservative and Sarah lost what little support she got from this person by leaving. Only cowards back down under pressure. Good for you Karl!

    March 18, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    I used to think Karl Rove was smarter than the average person. I had thought that his election night meltdown on Fox News was just a fluke. Hey, anyone can make a mistake. He's arguing with Sarah Palin. Make no mistake, Karl's crazy. You would have to be to argue with her through the press.

    March 18, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
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