Why is Karl Rove taking shots at Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell?

Karl Rove says that Sarah Palin lacks the 'gravitas' to be a presidential candidate in 2012. Rove is not a fan of Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell either.

Ron Edmonds/AP/File
Karl Rove, in 2005 when he was President Bush's deputy chief of staff. Rove, now a Fox political analyst, says Sarah Palin lacks the 'gravitas' to be a presidential candidate.

Karl Rove, Republican political strategist and the general behind George Bush's presidential victories, has been taking pot shots at some conservative favorites.

His latest target, former Alaska governor and Tea Party darling, Sarah Palin.

Palin, Mr. Rove told Britain's The Daily Telegraph, lacked the "gravitas" to be president in 2012.

He dissed her new Alaska reality series as a bad political move.

“With all due candour, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of 'that helps me see you in the Oval Office’,” Rove told the Telegraph.

Sarah Palin has been an influential player in the midterm elections, traveling and speaking around the United States and endorsing a range of candidates, often the same candidates endorsed by the Tea Party movement. But Palin has not declared herself a candidate in the 2012 presidential election.

How serious is this conservative rift between Rove and Palin?

Rove's views often represent the Republican establishment. And he's got a reputation for knowing how to win. George W. Bush called him "The Architect" of Bush's gubernatorial and presidential victories. Rove also guided the successful campaigns of several governors and members of Congress.

But he's critical of some of the Tea Party-backed candidates endorsed by Palin, including Christine O'Donnell in the Delaware Senate race.

He's not a fan.

“I’ve met her. I wasn’t frankly impressed by her abilities as a candidate,” Rove said on Fox News last month. “One thing that O’Donnell is now going to have to answer in the general election that she didn't in the primary is her own checkered background.”

“There were a lot of nutty things she has been saying that don't add up,” Rove added.

“Why did she mislead voters about her college education? How come it took nearly two decades to pay her college bills so she could get her college degree? How did she make a living?”

Of course, one might say that Rove has said some "nutty things" too.

On Monday, during a discussion of the liberal media, he said "45 percent of NPR listeners were Saddam Hussein."


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