Rove hits back after Palin criticism at CPAC

GOP strategist and fundraiser Karl Rove on Sunday hit back at Sarah Palin, after the former Alaska governor criticized him over his record backing GOP candidates in 2012 primaries.

“If she can play in primaries, other people can play in primaries,” said Rove on “Fox News Sunday.”

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Palin had mocked Rove, a former George W. Bush aide and top GOP consultant, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday.

“These experts, who keep losing elections and keep getting rehired, raking in millions, if they feel that strongly about who gets to run in the party, then they should buck up or stay in the truck. Buck up and run,” said Palin.

Rove founded American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, major outsider donor in the 2012 election cycle. But most candidates backed by the groups faltered, leading to criticism from Tea Party groups, who claimed Rove wrongly backed more establishment candidates at the expensive of conservative contenders./p>

Undaunted, Rove announced in February the launch of the Conservative Victory Project, which he said would engage in 2014 primary races with the aim of backing “the most conservative candidate who can win.”

Palin also was a force in last year’s primaries, backing a number of candidates, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who pulled off an upset victory in the Texas Republican primary.

Rove on Sunday, pushed back against Palin’s criticisms.

“Sarah Palin should be agreeing with this,” he said. “She didn't support Todd Akin, and when he said the reprehensible things he said, she wisely came out and said he ought to get out of the race.

“I appreciate her encouragement that I ought to go home to Texas and run for office,” Rove added. “I would be enthused if I ran for office to have her support. I will say this, though, I don't think I'm a particularly good candidate. Sort of a balding, fat guy.”

Rove also took a shot at Palin’s decision to step down from the Alaska governorship in 2009.

“If I did run for office and win, I would serve out my term. I wouldn't leave office midterm,” he said.