The Corner

Rove Mocks Palin: ‘I’d Serve Out My Term’

Today on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked panelist Karl Rove about Sarah Palin’s comments yesterday at CPAC, part of a larger feud between Rove and grassroots conservatives. Palin lashed out at consultants and campaign strategists’ involvement in elections and, as Wallace put it, the “involvement of the Washington establishment in vetting candidates.”

Rove disagreed and accused Palin of having done the same things herself, saying that “Sarah Palin should be agreeing with us.” For instance, he said, the former Alaska governor “wisely” called for Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin to drop out of the race after he made “reprehensible comments” about rape. “If she can plan primaries,” Rove said, “other people can plan primaries.”

Rove also pushed back against Palin’s accusation that he profits from his involvement in primaries and election, saying “I’m a volunteer. I don’t take a dime from my work with American Crossroads, I even pay for my own travel out of pocket. I thought Sarah Palin was about encouraging volunteer grassroots activity.” Rove’s group, American Crossroads, and its related organizations raised and spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the 2012 election, in support of both Mitt Romney and congressional candidates.

In her CPAC speech, Palin also criticized people such as Rove for overseeing elections but not standing as candidates, saying they should “buck up and run.” Rove explained that he didn’t think he, “sort of a balding fat guy,” would make a very good candidate, but then quipped that, “if I did run for office and win, I’d serve out my term” — mocking Sarah Palin’s decision to resign from the Alaska governorship in 2009.

The enmity between Rove and conservative activists has arisen in part from the fact that he raised and disbursed so much money with his groups in the 2012 election, to the point where many feel that the election’s results should brand him a failure. Further, following the election, he announced an effort to recruit and support more experienced and electable politicians to run as Republican candidates.

That group, called the Conservative Victory project, was described by the New York Times as “intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles.” Katrina Trinko has written for NRO about the controversy and its role in the 2014 Iowa Senate race, in which Representative Steve King, a tea-party favorite, is expected to run.

Patrick Brennan — Patrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...

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