WASHINGTON -- GOP uberconsultant Karl Rove lashed out at former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) on Sunday, mocking her decision to leave office early. Rove's criticism was a response to comments Palin made at the Conservative Political Action Conference in which she suggested the poor performance of Rove-backed candidates in the 2012 elections indicates that Rove should get out of the political consulting business.
"If these experts who keep losing elections and keep getting rehired and getting millions -- if they feel that strong about who gets to run in this party, then they should buck-up or stay in the truck," Palin told CPAC Saturday, referring to Rove. "Buck up or run. The Architect can head on back to the great Lone Star State and put their name on some ballot –- though for their sakes, I hope they give themselves a discount on their consulting services."
Rove pushed back in an interview with Fox on Sunday.
"I'm a volunteer and I don't take a dime with my work from American Crossroads and pay my own travel expenses out of my own pocket and I thought she was encouraging volunteer grassroots activity and I'm a volunteer," Rove said. "Second of all, look, I appreciate encouragement I ought to go home to Texas and run for office and, it would be news if I did to have her support. But I don't think I'm a good candidate -- a kind of balding, fat guy. And second, if I did run for office and win, I would serve out my term and I wouldn't leave office midterm."
Palin famously resigned her governorship midway through her first term in office in early 2009, shortly after her 2008 bid for vice president came up short. Rove's Crossroads operation spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the 2012 elections, only to see nearly all of his marquee candidates fail to be elected.
Rove has since become a magnet for criticism from much of the Republican Party base for his more recent efforts to recruit candidates that are more palatable to voters than Tea Party favorites like failed Senate candidate Todd Akin, whose electoral bid collapsed after he stated that women are biologically incapable of becoming pregnant from a "legitimate rape." Rove's latest strategy has been interpreted by some Republicans as an effort to undermine hardline conservatives and move the party toward more moderate candidates.