Democrats have long enjoyed bashing Karl Rove, former White House adviser and architect of the campaigns that put President George W. Bush in office.
But clashing with the longtime Republican operative and Fox News contributor is now catching on for another group: conservatives, especially those affiliated with the tea party movement.
Among the most high profile of these recent attackers are former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and, now, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.
The most common example is, in giving political analysis on Fox News, Rove ticks off one of these tea partiers, and the response is that Rove is just a Beltway elitist trying to hurt them.
Earlier this week, Cain accused Rove of trying “to damage me” after Rove went on Fox and held up a white board listing a number of gaffes Cain had committed in his campaign.
“I believe it is a deliberate attempt to damage me because I am not, quote unquote, the establishment choice,” Cain told the Washington Examiner’s Byron York.
In September, Perry had some tough words for Rove during a debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. He was responding to Rove saying his comments — calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme — could be “toxic” in a general election. (RELATED: Cain: Rove attacks me to help Romney)
“Karl has been over the top for a long time in some of his remarks,” Perry said at the debate. “I’m not responsible for Karl anymore.”
Earlier this year, when Palin was still considering a run for president in 2012, she reacted negatively to Rove’s analysis that she was likely to enter the race, accusing him of trying to “mislead the American public.”
“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 public,” Palin’s political action committee posted on its website following Rove’s comments.
Rove responded to her criticism, saying, “It is a sign of enormous thin skin that if we speculate about her that she gets upset.”
Another candidate who had a high-profile run-in with Rove was Christine O’Donnell, the 2010 Republican nominee for the U.S Senate in Delaware. Rove opined then on the “nutty things she has been saying,” as well as her electability against Democrats.
O’Donnell went on to lose that race.
But Rush Limbaugh questioned Rove at the time. “I’ve never heard Karl so animated against a Democrat as he was against Christine O’Donnell last night,” Limbaugh said.
Rove, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment for this story when reached by The Daily Caller.
But one conservative who took Rove’s side this week was Fox analyst Brit Hume.
“Look, if you’re running for president, you don’t want to get into a fight with Karl Rove,” he said. “That makes no sense.”