Karl Rove's Visit to U of I Sparks Controversy

By Mark Geary, Reporter


By Mark Geary

IOWA CITY -- He's been called the mastermind of the Bush administration. Sunday night, Karl Rove, President Bush's former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor, spoke to a crowd of about 1,000 people at the University of Iowa.

The university paid Rove $40,000 to speak, which is pretty standard for someone like him. However, many people disagreed with the decision to pay him to speak.

It quickly became a hostile evening for Rove.
Protestors rallied together against Rove hours before he even took the stage.

"He's a traitor for outing a CIA agent and he's the one who really crafted the rhetoric for the invasion of Iraq," UI student Keri George said.

When Rove tried to start speaking, jeers from the crowd immediately interrupted him.

Police escorted two people out after they attempted to perform a citizen’s arrest on Rove for his actions during the Bush administration. Some students didn't appreciate the crowd’s behavior.

"I think that no matter what your opinion of him is, it's important to hear him. You can tell people you heard him because he is important in history and will be in the textbooks," UI student Maria Tyson said.

At times, Rove had trouble saying more than a few words before someone shouted at him from the crowd.

"You got a chance to ask your questions later and make your stupid statements, let me make mine," Rove said.

Later, Rove said he felt bad for all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in Iraq.

"I shed a lot of tears and I have been inspired by many of the people who feel their son or daughter should not have to die in vain," Rove said.

Rove supporters stood and applauded him at times while the rest of the crowd booed.

"We study elections all of the time here, this is a man who has gone out and one it and been successful each time he's done it," UI student Greg Baker said.

Despite all the criticism from the crowd, Rove largely remained calm and simply sat silently until he could speak.

Near the end of the talk, someone shouted from the crowd, ‘Can we have our $40,000 back?’

Rove responded, “No, you can't.”

Rove only allowed journalists to videotape the first few minutes of his remarks. After that, the media had to turn off all cameras and tape recorders.

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