Karl Rove, the former political advisor to President George W. Bush, spoke to a sometimes adversarial crowd of about 1200 last night at the University of Iowa. Rove was often interrupted by the 200 vocal protesters who attended the event. "You’ve got a chance to ask your questions later and make your stupid statements," Rove told the protesters as the event’s moderator struggled to maintain order. "Let me make mine."
Rove defended the war in Iraq. "I know this is a controversial war and I’ll defend it and you’re happy to ask whatever questions you want about it, but I will tell you this: you cannot help but meet with people as I’ve met with over the last five years and see the passion and commitment…how they their loved ones felt about the mission they were given," Rove said.
A number of protesters were escorted out of the lecture. Rove did receive support from some in the crowd and was questioned about his new book and his relationship with President Bush.
The lecture was moderated by University of Iowa journalism professor Frank Durham who asked some questions of his own, including one about the host of a cable television program. "Keith Olbermann named you the worst person ever," Durham said as some in the crowd erupted in applause and cheers.
"Ever?" Rove asked.
"Where does that go on your resume?" Durham asked.
"Yea, worse than Hitler, worse than Stalin, worse than Mao and worse than the person who introduced aluminum baseball bats," Rove said.
As Rove tried to discuss the war effort in Iraq, someone in the audience yelled out: "Have you shed a single tear?" Rove replied: "I’ve shed a lot of tears."