Karl Rove says McCain, Obama have gone too far

September 15, 2008

rove.jpgJACKSONVILLE, Florida – Take it from an expert. Karl Rove, known as the architect of President George W. Bush’s electoral victories, believes White House candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have gone too far in their attacks on each other.

Rove, speaking on the television program Fox News Sunday, said an ad by the Democratic presidential nominee and Illinois senator criticizing McCain for not being e-mail savvy was unfair.

“His war injuries keep him from being able to use a keyboard. He can’t type. You know, it’s like saying he can’t do jumping jacks,” Rove said of the Arizona senator and former U.S. prisoner of war in Vietnam.

But pressed by the program’s host to find fault on both sides, Rove said the Republican presidential nominee was equally guilty.

“McCain has gone in some of his ads — similarly gone one step too far and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100-percent-truth test,” Rove said.

The Obama campaign seized on the comments, which it felt validated growing criticism that McCain’s operation had turned increasingly negative.

“In case anyone was still wondering whether John McCain is running the sleaziest, most dishonest campaign in history, today Karl Rove — the man who held the previous record — said McCain’s ads have gone too far,” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

Rove said both campaigns were making a mistake by pushing the envelope with their assaults.

“They don’t need to attack each other in this way,” he said. “They have legitimate points to make about each other.”

Words to live by as the 2008 campaign enters the home stretch?

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo credit: Fred Prouser/Reuters (Karl Rove at a panel discussion in Beverly Hills, California on July 14, 2008)


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Instead of referring to Palin by name, just use the term GOP. The GOP embraces the same greed and stupidity that she does. The more that people see the difference between Obama and the GOP, the more likely it is that Barack’s authenticity will get a chance to shine through.

Pathetic. Politicians are not grown-ups. It’s like high school kids running for student council and calling each other names. Our economy is in the toilet, almost beyond repair, TELL US WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO TO FIX IT!!!! I don’t care to hear about hockey moms, lipstick, and how much Cindy McCain’s outfit cost. Talk to me about what you will do if I vote for you. I don’t care about Palin’s daughter or family for that matter. I want to know what she brings to the table. And don’t tell me she’s a pitbull. That doesn’t tell me a thing about her. Tell me what Biden brings to the table. Tell me what YOUR plan is to fix what the past 8 years have taken, and without any regard to the people of this country, flushed away. Fix this mess and tell me how you plan to do it. Enough of this childish nonsense. Act like adults.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Either way, we’re going to get an empty suit that is going to sell us all down the river.

Worst Election Ever.

Posted by oc | Report as abusive

oc do you think it’s the worst campaign ever because your candidate is going to lose? That’s another spin..Carl would be proud. To call Obama an empty suit indicates exactly what type of person many people will be in November…sore losers. Obama is the only sane choice.

Posted by Paul Rafael | Report as abusive

Well Mccain’s camp has produced some big old lies to try to influence the email generation of computer users (50-70 yr old) who have shown they can be manipulated by the “Obama used a Koran to be sworn in” chain mails.

We can only hope these tactics don’t work, or the country will be totally ruined when president Mccain shows his complete lack of economic sense. Remember when Ron Paul asked Mccain about the plunge protection team, and Mccain had no idea what it was doing, or even that it existed?

Perhaps Mccain should have “googled” a few subjects to try to fill in the large gaps in his knowledge about the really important things that will need to be worked on after the eight year Bush fiasco!

Posted by Teddy | Report as abusive

Karl Rove….the man makes stuff up for a living. He is probably the one who made the ad he’s saying went too far. He’s the one who avoided jail and Scooter got the short straw for a little bit.Karl Rove. Expert trouble-maker.

Posted by shaamex | Report as abusive

Shut up Karl Rove. Crawl back down into your brimstone lair until next election. McCain’s ads don’t pass the 5% truth test.

At the same time, when the devil can be made to admit that someone is more evil than him, we shouldn’t vote for that person, right?

Karl Rove belongs in Jail. His opinion means nothing to me. He is not an American, but a perverter of our sacred democracy.

Posted by Miko Krause | Report as abusive

Oh Karl Rove…

Michele makes a very good point. STEPHEN HAWKINGS anyone?

Face it McCain, you just can’t teach an old dog news tricks.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Obama’s ad about McCain not being able to use the computer isn’t a question of his age. It is pointing out that McCain is not in touch with the American people in this computer age.

Many disabled and older people are computer savvy. I have a friend who is legally blind and he uses a computer just fine. He isn’t attacking all people who are not so computer literate but he is just attacking McCain and his inability to be on the same level as more Americans.

I definitely think that McCain’s ads are much more offensive.

Posted by Nichole | Report as abusive

Rove’s example of McCain not being able to type is nonsense. McCain can write and sign his name, so the notion that he can’t use a keyboard is ridiculous. Even while saying the ads have gone too far, Rove is incapable of stating the truth about the Republican candidate.

Posted by H Grishaver | Report as abusive

Karl Rove’s analysis of the e-mail issue was incorrect. McCain indeed was referring to the fact that he has limited computer experience and has relied on staff for e-mail, etc. More recently he has begun to use the internet and even named some sites he uses.

Fact 1: this issue is irrelevant to the election
Fact 2: Karl Rove’s analysis, however, was a lie. Obama 2, Rove-McCain 0.

Posted by Kenneth Cohen | Report as abusive

How ironic that Karl Rove says that both candidates have gone too far. As the “architect” of the Bush campaigns and as a “consultant” to McCain’s current quest, it would seem that the choice of Sarah Palin as Republican VP candidate and the management of her public exposure thus far is a chapter directly torn from the “Karl Rove Manual of Spectacle Politics.” I for one have had enough of the politics of cynacism and destruction.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

Yes, Yes !! You are right on target, Mr. Rove. I watched your news media video.. and agreed with all your comments. There is NO NEED to bash either candidate … What we NEED is “truth” and facts. Who cares about emails… and whether McCain can type?
( BTW —- Don’t mess with OLD FOGEYS !! We’re well seasoned, experienced, and qualified to serve your words for dinner ! — )

Stop the Cr@p…. get down to basics. The country needs fixing !!

Wow. I never thought in a million years I’d agree with Karl Rove….
That being said, it’s the pot calling the kettle black. Rove’s not exactly known for being a gentle kitten himself, plus it came out back in March that he would be advising McCain’s campagin. Hmmm….

Posted by Amesmb | Report as abusive

It’s interesting how the dems continually slam Carl Rove, until his statements reinforce their vitriol for the republicans. I don’t care what the media says, if you connect the dots, it’s obvious that Obama’s lipstick/pig comment, which came just days after Palin scored points with her pitbulll/lipstick statement, was an ugly sexist response from Obama. Now, Obama is crying that he was misinterpreted, while the media, once again assists him in playing the victim. The deck has been so stacked in favor of Obama, whether it’s the media’s refusal to vet Obama in the first place, to giving Obama free rides with Wright, Farrakhan, Rezko, Ayers, etc.. The media, as well as shows like The View, are continuing to show extreme bias against Senator John McCain, while kissing Obama’s ass.

Posted by Howard | Report as abusive

Well, forgive me but I don’t see any hallow around Carl Rove’s head which would give him the right to pontificate on the current practices of the two political campaigns. His hands are so soiled with dirty tricks it isn’t funny. The problem with the Republican campaign now is the mass media psychological shock treatment that McCain and company have successfully executed which could be called, “dropping the Sarah Palin bomb”, from which we had all better soon wake up.

Posted by Evelyn H | Report as abusive

If there are any undecided voters left on this blog, please consider that Supreme Court retirements and subsequent appointments are likely in the next term.

If you’re not familiar with the current court make-up, please look at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/about/biog raphiescurrent.pdf

If you really believe in the decisions made by Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, then you should vote for McCain. If you don’t, you should vote for Obama.

Bush’s damage to our world credibility, his continued acceleration of our accumulated debt (Iraq alone costs $10 billion per month which we pay for by borrowing from China and other creditor nations), and appointment of Alito and Roberts will have a lasting legacy.

McCain’s voting record makes it likely he will attempt to appoint more justices of the Alito / Roberts world view. You have the power to prevent this. Even if no politician wants to talk about our accumulated debt (political suicide), we can at least work on repairing our image in the world and preventing more Alito / Roberts / Thomas / Scalia disasters.

Please help us salvage what we can. The impact of this election will be felt for years.

Posted by DaveSEMass | Report as abusive

Jellico- While it’s wonderful that many top business leaders can achieve great levels of success without being computer literate, not a single one of those business leaders is responsible for taking a country with one of the largest economies in the world into a new future. The concern about McCain’s unfamiliarity with computers has nothing to do with his needing information that administrative assistants can retrieve for him, and everything to do with him not understanding one of the single largest factors affecting the direction society and industry are currently headed in. How can we expect him to make policy decisions that will affect high tech industry when he can’t even use a simple home computer? While I do imagine he would surround himself with advisers who understand technology, if he himself does not understand he would not be truly making decisions; he would be doing whatever his non-elected advisers recommend. In line with that, how can we expect him to make informed and educated decisions regarding the transition from oil to renewable resources? This should be, in some ways, the dawning of a new era for our society. If the United States of America wishes to remain one of the top countries for technological development it is imperative that we have a leader who is in touch with modern technology, and not someone who is helpless with anything more complicated than a calculator. It’s not his inability to use twitter or send e-mails that we’re worried about. It’s how out of touch he is with something that is steering the direction of our society and economy.

BTW, I hope your use of pejoratives with regards to your perceived insecurities of Democrats assuages whatever insecurities that compelled you to resort to insult. Oh, sorry. For those who are “out of touch”, BTW stands for “by the way”.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Karl Rove, of course, is only criticizing McCain, because he is now very worried that McCain’s adds are bad and will lead to more support for Obama. His comments on Obama’s adds is simply to prove to the McCain supporters that he supports McCain.

When Rove made attack adds, he didn’t care about the truth. All that mattered was that it damaged the opponent and that there was no easy defense possible. So, in case of the Swift Boat ads, Kerry could not easily prove that he was right, as the events happened a long time ago. Attempting to put forward Kerry’s own point of view on this would not fully reverse the damege done and it would come at the expense of a lot of talking about the issues Kerry wanted to talk about.

But in case of the McCain adds about Obama’s proposals for sex-ed at Kindergarten, “pig with lipstick” statement and on Obama’s tax plans, Obama didn’t need to do anythink himself, all the mayor news organizations debunked it the next day.

So, all these adds by McCain badly misfired. McCain now looks more and more like Bush talking about Yellowcake from Niger. He has shown that he can take facts deliberately out of context and present them, with a straight face to the US public, as implying something that supports whatever point he wants to make.

Posted by Count Iblis | Report as abusive

I’m a paralyzed Veteran from Vietnam. I am paralyzed from the neck down, I have used the web since the early 90′s
Excuses excuses

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

The funniest thing about the whole campaign is both sides are clamoring for “change” yet… they say the same thing over and over and over. If you need examples look above this post.

If you want change, say something new. If you want the same old stuff… keep doing what you are doing. How a democrat or a republican can represent change is the silliest thing I ever heard.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Seriously when did the Republican party become dominated by wimpy conservatives? I think The SNL version of Hillary said it best when they suggested the Median and the Republicans “grow a pair” or they can “borrow” hers.

Posted by Ad-Rock | Report as abusive

John McCain probably “miss-remembered” (ala Roger Clemens) that change was Obama’s claim, and that ad about teaching sex ed to children was 100% false…….We will find out how foolish the United States is if McLiar….excuse me McCain wins. Did someone say “George Bush’s third term”.

Posted by Cyriac | Report as abusive

Some previous posts have said that a president doesn’t need to be “fooling around with email” or “surf the web.” “He has people for that.” Computer technology goes way beyond email and the web. If a president of the USA doesn’t understand computer technology nor how that technology is how the world functions and operates today, then he doesn’t understand laws or bills that would affect that technology on a business and economic scale.

I don’t want a president who doesn’t use computers to be making laws on technology he clueless about nor does he have the inclination to learn.

Posted by LilyN | Report as abusive

McCain has gone too far, even Karl Rove knows it can’t be ignored, so in order to deflect attention from the lie-spewing, win-at-all-costs candidate McCain has become, Rove must say Obama has gone too far too. Sorry, Karl, you know, and we all know that it is only McCain who has pushed the envelope. I pray Americans wake up and vote for Obama. Let’s all pray for an Obama win. And let’s all vote for Obama.

Posted by Christians for Obama! | Report as abusive

Geez, I was typing too fast. Amended version below:

Can’t stand Karl Rove, even if he’s critizing McCain, with whom I’m not impressed and more than a little annoyed.
Rove is a whole-hearted hypocrite, considering all the black-hearted garbage he’s spewed in the last eight years!

Michael, I agree with you; I have a friend who has CP and can barely move, but he uses his computer every day.

I’d like to hear Sarah Palin answer reporters’ question – without plenty of rehearsal time. About all we’ve gotten so far is shaking of pompons and a lot of cheer-leading.

Posted by Cheire Fayan | Report as abusive

John McCain is not apt at using email? So what? Barack Obama never touched controls of a fighter jet. Barack Obama never authored a single piece of meaningful legislation to show for his 2 years in the Senate. Barack Obama never… In short, Barack Obama never has done anything except some – admittedly very brilliant – speeches. However, no matter how brilliant the speeches were, they don’t make up too much of a record on which one can run for the top office.

Posted by Anonymous User | Report as abusive

McCain can chose how he wants to lose. He can either lose fairly, or he can lose dirty. If he loses dirty, the dirt sticks.

I want to hear Sarah Palin elaborate on how the Iraq war is a “task from God.” That statement is on video. Then she flip-flopped in Charley Gibson’s intereview, and said she “doesn’t know” if it’s a task from God. What changed your mind, Sarah? Is God no longer keeping you informed?

Posted by Geoffrey | Report as abusive

Come on people, see the truth in all of it and realize this…

Obama’s latest ad was not one to slam on McCain for not being able to type, nor his disabilities. The ad goes deeper than that. People with disabilities strive to do better for themselves and those around them. How can McCain be a good president when he in fact won’t even try or strive to learn new and adaptable ways to do more for himself and the people? Just like he did as a pow, he will lay down and hand America over to any who demands it.

As all of you see the label of war hero attached to one that was only a pow, you too are only looking at the outside and not educating yourself on the candidates nor digging deeper into any of their truths.

All politicians lie to a certain extent and so do all of YOU, but one that is obvious in the lies of his campaign ads and goes on to continuously approve them, is a coward.

Obama’s truths http://www.fightthesmears.com

Posted by C Bettencourt | Report as abusive

Let’s look at the facts as reported. Obama’s statement about McCain’s computer literacy was not a lie, it is a fact admitted to by McCain.

On the other hand McCain’s ads contain out right lies about Obama’s plans and programs.

How does Karl Rove compare an inconvenient truth to an outright lie and say both are way out of bounds?

Because Rove is a Republican and has been the “Bush liar” for years.

Check out http://www.factcheck.org for the truth behind the lies. A non-partisan policy study by the University of Pennsylvania.

Karl Rove is a disgrace. He should be in jail. Do us all a favor and leave the country. As far as I am concerned Karl Rove does not love the United States and he should leave the country.

Posted by Gary Payne | Report as abusive

This is Rove doing damage control for the benefit of McCain — kind of like how the ultra-partisan GOP rails against the partisanship plaguing Washington (when they’re the ones responsible for nearly all of it), so Rove crows about the negative tone of “both” candidates, then it has been McCain’s candidacy that went negative first and without hesitation or shame. Now Rove’s concerned suddenly about the tone of the campaign?

Clearly, he realizes they can’t sucker punch their way into the White House this time.

Posted by Slackie Onassis | Report as abusive

You are right Obama has never touched a jet stick, and he has never crushed 5 jet liners either lol

Posted by thandi | Report as abusive

why the hell is anyone watching The View, and furthermore it should be automatic disqualification for any candidate who would appear or call in on the view, or oprah, dr. phil, tyra, the spin zone, anything on any news network that was airing fresh news every 5 seconds about Paris Hilton or Brittany Spears before the 2008 white house race even started.

Posted by jake | Report as abusive

I agree with Rove.

Too much rancour and not enough application.

Posted by TheTruthIs... | Report as abusive

Karl Rove has joined Mike Huckabee is saying enough is enough and these candidates need to get back to the issues that are going to get them votes….or not! Time is running out and they are spending all their time trying to attack each other over silly insignificant details instead of letting the American people know what plans they have to make things better for us….I’m missing Mike Huckabee right now. He made more sense than all the other candidates combined….

Posted by Linda | Report as abusive