Karl Rove has called into question the relevance and efficacy of using Monica Lewinsky as political ammunition to attack Hillary and Bill Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign -- comments that fly in the face of public statements made by RNC chairman Reince Priebus.
On the February 11 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Fox contributor Karl Rove criticized Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) recent attempts to smear possible presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by bringing up her husband's relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Rove observed that "beating up on Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky" and "spending a lot of time talking about the mistakes of Bill Clinton" do not constitute "a big agenda for the future of the country":
HEMMER: Rand Paul is out there banging on the Clintons every day. Now what's his strategy?
ROVE: Well, I'm not sure he has a strategy, I was intrigued the other day, somebody said why are you doing this and he said people keep asking me about it. I'm not certain that it is -- look, each one of these candidates needs to do two things in 2014. One is they need to make this about something bigger than their own personal ambitions. This can't be 'I want to run for president' --' It's got to be about something bigger than that, and frankly, Rand Paul spending a lot of time talking about the mistakes of Bill Clinton does not look like a big agenda for the future of the country. The second thing that they need to do is they need to strengthen their skills as a candidate. Each one of these people has run and won in a state. Like Rand Paul has won in Kentucky, Chris Christie has won in New Jersey. But they are about ready to enter a contest that's going to be across 30 some-odd states for the primary, 35 or 40 states. They're going to cover most of all of the 50 states -- it's going to be a big complex thing, and they've got to strengthen their skills to get ready for it. I'm not certain again that beating up on Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky is a particularly good thing to strengthen your skills for the 2016 contest.
Rove's suggestion that potential Republican presidential candidates are not strengthening their resumes by bashing the Clintons fly in the face of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' recent defense of such tactics. During a February 10 appearance on MSNBC, Priebus said that Republicans will have a "truckload" of opposition research to use against Hillary Clinton, adding that Paul's comments on Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky are a legitimate campaign strategy against Hillary Clinton:
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Monday that when it comes to Hillary Clinton, Republicans will have a "truckload" of material to use against her, and it's all fair game.
Priebus said recent, repeated comments from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Texas) bringing up President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky as a critique of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are legitimate.
"I think everything's on the table," Priebus said on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on Monday. "I think we're going to have a truckload of opposition research on Hillary Clinton, and some things may be old, and some things might be new. But I think everything is at stake when you're talking about the leader of the free world."