Rove’s Palin criticism provokes backlash from supporters who label him Biden of the right

Sarah Palin and her allies have not taken kindly to comments by Karl Rove this week that the former Alaska governor is not ready to be president, firing back at the former Bush White House political adviser in a fight that illustrates the simmering tensions within the Republican Party.

Palin herself made a crack about Rove Thursday but refrained from making pointed comments. But nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin went after Rove with passion.

“I have to say, nice guy aside, this guy needs to get off the stage. He is yesterday’s operative,” Levin said. “There is a movement going on in this country, a movement that is trying to do serious things and substantive things, and this guy’s just running around, gassing off at the mouth, attacking some of the most conservative candidates in the field.”

“You know, Karl Rove is sort of becoming our Joe Biden, how many times he puts his foot in his mouth,” said Levin, an attorney who was chief of staff to the attorney general in the Reagan administration. “I think he’s got a Joe Biden problem.”

“There is a conservative uprising taking place, a conservative rebellion against Washington, against big government. And I don’t happen to think Rove and those guys are exactly the best face to put on it, because they had nothing to do with it. And in part – you want to know the truth? – in part it’s a reaction to them,” Levin said (see below for a transcript of Levin’s remarks).

The comments by Rove came during an interview with the London Telegraph that was published online late Wednesday, in response to questions about whether Palin would be a good Republican candidate for president.

Palin, who will star in a Discovery Channel “eight-week television event” titled “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” told Entertainment Tonight this week that she would run for president “if there’s nobody else to do it.”

Rove was clear that he thinks there are serious questions about whether Palin is ready to be president.

“Well, ’08 I think she did a terrific job. But being the vice presidential nominee on the ticket is different than saying I want to be the person at the top of the ticket,” Rove said. “And there are high standards that the American people have for it, and they require a certain level of gravitas.”

“You know, they want to look at the candidate and say, that candidate is doing things that gives me confidence that they’re up to the most demanding job in the world,” Rove said. “And, with all due candor, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I’m not sure how that fits into the American calculus of, ‘Yeah, that helps me see you in the Oval Office.’ Particularly if the promos of it are you, outside, saying, ‘I would rather be here than in any political office in America.’”

On Thursday, one writer at Conservatives4Palin, a blog that supports Palin, referred to Rove as “Karl ‘Tokyo’ Rove,” in a reference to Japanese propaganda broadcasters during World War II.

Palin herself was asked Thursday about Rove’s comments by Glenn Beck on the Fox News personality’s radio show.

“Isn’t is amazing that the establishment, the GOP establishment, you know, people like Karl Rove, who by the way has announced that you’re just not qualified to — It’s a good thing you’re in the kitchen, Sarah, it is,” Beck said.