Sarah Palin vs. Karl Rove: Is he right that she's thin-skinned?

GOP guru Karl Rove on Wednesday advised Sarah Palin to get 'a slightly thicker skin' if she intends to run for president. It's Round 3 of 'The Battle of the Fox News Contributors.'

Sue Ogrocki/AP/File
In this May 17, 2010 file photo, former White House adviser Karl Rove speaks in Oklahoma City, Okla. GOP guru Rove on Wednesday advised Sarah Palin to be less "thin-skinned" to Greta van Susteren on Fox News.

Is Sarah Palin too sensitive? That’s what GOP guru Karl Rove said Wednesday to Greta van Susteren on Fox News.

The exact phrase he used was “thin-skinned.”

“I would just recommend that she get a slightly thicker skin, because if she’s got this thin a skin now ... how is she going to react if she does get into the campaign and gets the scrutiny that every presidential candidate gets?” said Mr. Rove.

First, a little background.

Last weekend, the aforementioned Rove said he believed the ex-governor of Alaska would announce a presidential bid around Labor Day. Ms. Palin's schedule – unveiling a film about herself in Iowa, visiting the Iowa State Fair, addressing a big Sept. 3 Tea Party Iowa rally – was that of a candidate, not a celebrity, said the former Bush political adviser.

For some reason this made Palin unhappy. She fired back in a message posted on her PAC website, denying that she plans to reveal her plans over Labor Day weekend.

“Any professional pundit claiming to have ‘inside information’ regarding Governor Palin’s personal decision is not only wrong but their comments are specifically intended to mislead the American people,” said the message.

OK – first off, “professional pundit” is an oxymoron. The word for an amateur pundit is “blowhard.” Second, Rove clearly did not claim any inside information. He was making a prediction. And as to willfully misleading the American people – that’s a little harsh, isn’t it? Maybe Rove has some plan whereby predicting a Palin presidential bid will embarrass her and boost some other candidate, but we think that’s a bank shot that’s a little complicated to pull off, frankly.

So yes, Palin, or whoever wrote the message for her, is being too thin-skinned in this instance. She should learn from the example of fellow tea party favorite Michele Bachmann, who generally stays on message and does not get riled even when folks are trying to rile her.

That said, Rove and Palin have a history, and now they appear locked in a genuine feud. They’re like Jerry Seinfeld and Newman, only they don’t appear in an old sitcom. We’ll call it “The Battle of the Fox News Contributors.”

Rove in the past has said that Palin’s appearance on reality shows is a sign she lacks gravitas. Palin has said that Rove is the symbol of the GOP old guard against which she is going rogue.

It takes two to tangle, as grade school teachers across America will be reminding their charges this week. While Palin may have been thin-skinned, Rove seemed to be piling on. If you watch the full exchange from Wednesday you’ll see that Ms. Van Susteren kept trying to steer the conversation in the direction of “aren’t-the-media-silly-for-focusing-on-this,” but Rove would not let up.

“If she’s not interested in being a candidate, why does she keep going back to Iowa?” he concluded.

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