March 12, 2009

Rove: Even Nixon didn't focus-group his enemies list

Posted: 08:55 AM ET

By Karl Rove, former deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush

Presidents throughout history have kept lists of political foes. But the Obama White House is the first I am aware of to pick targets based on polls. Even Richard Nixon didn't focus-group his enemies list.

Team Obama - aided by Clintonistas Paul Begala, James Carville and Stanley Greenberg - decided to attack Rush Limbaugh after poring over opinion research. White House senior adviser David Axelrod explicitly authorized the assault. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel assigned a White House official to coordinate the push. And Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gleefully punched the launch button at his podium, suckering the White House press corps into dropping what they were doing to get Mr. Limbaugh.

Was it smart politics and good policy? No. For one thing, it gave the lie to Barack Obama's talk about ending "the political strategy that's been all about division" and "the score-keeping and the name-calling." The West Wing looked populated by petulant teenagers intent on taking down a popular rival. Such talk also shortens the president's honeymoon by making him look like a street-fighting Chicago pol instead of an inspirational, unifying figure. The upward spike in ratings for Rush and other conservative radio commentators shows how the White House's attempt at a smackdown instead energized the opposition.

Did it do any good with voters not strongly tied to either party? I suspect not. With stock markets down, unemployment growing, banks tottering, consumers anxious, business leaders nervous, and the economy shrinking, the Obama administration's attacks on a radio talk show host made it seem concerned with the trivial.

READ MORE of Rove's commentary HERE

Filed under: Karl Rove

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Doane   March 12th, 2009 9:21 am ET

CNN now thinks Rush is important enough to make this into a 1st run story above Clinton's interview about health care and other beneficial programs? Shame on you

sean brizendine   March 12th, 2009 1:41 pm ET

karl you have no room to talk.
"sean in santa rosa"

Terry, TX   March 12th, 2009 2:00 pm ET

I think what Emmanuel, Carville, Belago and Greenberg thought... it worked the last time. The same tactics were done by the same group during the election on a regular citizen named Joe...his private govt records were breached, the slobbering media abused him and the radical liberal activists went into "Rahm Emmanuel Mode" and the only word he said was "socialism" quite politely.

They miscalculated this time...they can't intimidate or threaten Rush....
and guess what this one talks back with a bite.

Remember the legislation to pull talk radio..freedom of speech issue was directed at radio hosts. The two things that will trigger Rush is any attack on the constitution and spending taxpayers money on crappola.

Rush has been on for 20yrs...he has an audience bigger than CNN and MSNBC audiences 4pm to 10pm scheduled together...NOW his audience is off the charts. There is nothing covert about him...he is not in political office and not interested in political office...and he complains about all the parties.
If you don't like listening to Rush...turn on Air is the same thing as Rush but in reverse. However ...the last time I checked freedom of speech is still in the constitution...and it's creepy how many covert challenges we see spewing from people.

Jasmine   March 12th, 2009 2:17 pm ET

Karl Rove just be quiet – nobody is interested in you – you had eight to ya p yap now choose a corner and be quiet – and the fault is also on CNN too for giving audienceto this Limbaugh crap and asking abt the Limbaugh drama with Obama story and then turn on the democrat strategist and blame them – grow up all of you – and "accept what you cannot change" for now atleast –

Pietro Sirianni   March 12th, 2009 3:30 pm ET

Dear Ms. Rove,

I doubt history will remember you, but if by some strange accident it does you will be remembered as a sinister woman who manipulated the American people and helped the worst president in U.S. history steal two elections.
Good day madame.

Kelli from Tampa   March 12th, 2009 4:43 pm ET

I think our President is doing much to quell the anger. All Republican's should be grateful for this, because I know many Independent's, Democrat's and FORMER Republican's who would like to have their way with the previous administration's thugs and believe me it would involve more than a "focus group" (Goes to show just how out of touch these white collar criminal Republicans even now, remain to be).

Pietro Sirianni   March 12th, 2009 6:39 pm ET

You got that right!

carolyn mcneely   March 12th, 2009 9:10 pm ET

i miss larry being on his show. is he ill or what is the problem? no one can take his place. love him!

Mike, Zephyrhills, FL   March 12th, 2009 9:30 pm ET

Rove and all those involved in the 2000 Election and stealing it should all be in jail.

Dont forget Rep. Dennis Kucinch's 38 Articles of Impeachment against Bush , most include Rove!!

Man is scum and should be in Gitmo!!

Mike, Zephyrhills, FL   March 12th, 2009 9:31 pm ET

Funny how Republicans can dish it out, but, clearly cant take it!!

Mike, Zephyrhills, FL   March 12th, 2009 9:33 pm ET

Whats with Cheney still out running his gibb? man please go away and stay in Montana!!

Dodie from CA   March 12th, 2009 9:39 pm ET

Karl Rove You are one of the reasons we are in such a mess! How many Billions of dollars do you have in Off-Shore Accounts!

I hope this administration investigates all the money lost from the baby Bush administration.

If I had my way, I would love to see you in prison for the rest of your miserable life!

Ella richardson   March 12th, 2009 10:19 pm ET

My Mother was the Fifteenth child.Back in 1911.. her Mother and Father raised them all.. the only help they had was from " the Village"..and hard work.
P.S Lay off our President Barack Obama. In less than 2 months he's done more than Bush did in 8 years.Stop criticing every thing he does.we never had it so good and its going to get better. check out the stock Market the past couple of days..

Dave of Detroit   March 13th, 2009 12:24 am ET

Would someone please ask Mr. Rove about his railroading of Alabama Governor Don Seigelman into prison on charges that were trumped up and he was directly responsible for-made 90 minutes. Then there is Dick Cheney and the Valerie Plame case-her husband had the nerve to check out Haliburton and KBR-Cheney got even in a hurry....The Bush Administration had the most Fascist approach to Government that I have personally seen and the Constitution suffered Big Time as a result. Fascist, you say? No, The 16 tortured to death POW's say it much louder than I could. Let's put ole Karl on the Waterboard for a while and see what he has to say!

Janet   March 13th, 2009 11:32 am ET

Where is Larry? I have not seen him for 2 weeks..

Editors Additional Note: Larry will be back Monday. He's been on a much deserved vacation!

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