March 10th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Rove taunted at University of Iowa

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rove spoke at the University of Iowa Sunday."]

(CNN) - Former top Bush aide Karl Rove didn't get the friendliest of receptions at the University of Iowa Sunday, CNN affiliate KCRG reports.

Rove, who was paid $40,000 to speak at the University, was confronted with an at-times hostile crowd of 1,000, and was interrupted on several occasions.

At one point during the speech, Rove reportedly lashed out at some of the students, saying, "You got a chance to ask your questions later and make your stupid statements, let me make mine."

Police also were forced to remove two people after they tried to perform a citizen’s arrest on Rove for what they said were his crimes while a member of the Bush Administration.

At one point, a person asked Rove if he has ever shed a tear over the war 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," he replied.

Toward the end of the speech a member of the crowd yelled, "Can we have our $40,000 back?"

Rove replied, “No, you can't.”

Radio Iowa also reports one audience member told Rove that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann named him the "worst person ever."

"Ever?" Rove joked. "Yea, worse than Hitler, worse than Stalin, worse than Mao and worse than the person who introduced aluminum baseball bats."

Cameras were only allowed to film the beginning of the speech.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Karl Rove
soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. LeftyLoosey

    To RightyTighty,

    You do realize your comment, bashing the intelligence of University of Iowa Grads (of which I am one), contains three grammatical errors? Perhaps I'm no Einstein, but I know that you never use an apostrophe to form a plural. Not to mention, an ellipses has three periods...

    That being said, kudos to UI for bringing Rove to the heartland, allowing students and citizens alike to voice their opinions and protest one of the most controversial vilified figures in the country today.

    March 10, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. rob

    The difference between Rove and Bismarck – Bismarck was fired, Rove quit.

    March 10, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Schmidt/ Iowa

    Just remember it was Mr Rove and his kinds that didn't let Clinton away with Lying before the supreme court. Lied under Oath he did?

    Wow Was he really our president?

    March 10, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. JM

    RightyTighty said,

    "The University of Iowa has never been known for producing Einstein’s.

    Political Science, Art and Theater, now those are the degree's of the mindless liberals. Just who I want answering the phone at 3 AM.."

    I take personal offense to a statement like that, but at the end of the day I know I'm just flat out a better person than you. Much more progressive, much more positive and open towards others. And those are certainly characteristics that I find honorable in a person of the 21st Century. Your way of thinking is dying out, my friend. You are on the verge of extinction. Get used to it! And it's interesting that you referenced Einstein, a pacifist. Don't really think he'd be fighting in your corner, do you?

    March 10, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. adams

    I agree with Rove, the students should have picked his brain.

    Rove may be hard core right wing, but he has a wealth of political strategies.

    In some settings its better to maintain nonobjective attitude.

    March 10, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Roger in SE CA

    I was fascinated by this event and reading all the responses. I feel it shows the polarization of the not so United States. I considered myself a middle of the road person. For example in the 2000, CA primary I voted for Mc Cain, but I will not vote for him this year, because 1) I feel the average American has been made second to Iraq; 2) there is too much greed on the part of corporations and 3)because of people like Karl Rove, who has wrongly had the former governor of Alabama imprisoned.

    March 10, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. David

    Chris at 1:01 ET:

    Shouting down speach is not free speach. It is censorship. Responding to speach with more speach - now that is free speach.

    It seems that when anyone from the right side of the political spectrum speaks at a college, he or she can be almost certain of being heckled and shouted down. A left-wing mob mentality has developed on campuses in which students feel it is their duty to disrupt any discussion that is not deemed politically correct or that espouses conservative viewpoints. In a marketplace of ideas, it is essential that all ideas are permitted to be expressed. The bad ideas will be recognized as such, and the good ideas will win out. If you start censoring the ideas you don't like, the system fails - who's to say your ideas won't be the next ones that are shouted down?

    March 10, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Haley Rodman Clemson

    Rove is a brillant strategist who was willing to take the fall for some questionable offenses by the Bush admnistration. I would love to hear him speak but not if other members of the audience are being rude, disruptive and malicious. It's completely unacceptable how college students are indoctorinated against anyone who represents Republicans or conservatives.

    March 10, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Edgar

    Thank god you can still enter a comment! Look "people" the Iraq war is what it is and we can't change it. I see how everyone worries about the Iraqi people and how terrible the Bush administration did in dragging us to a war that cost American $12Billion dollars a day.

    All I have to say is how fast we all forget 9-11, and how fast we felt that day when our people were sufferring and died. I want a strong President that can protects its people and protect our economy. We call those War criminals for protecting America and its people.

    Are we all patriots of this nation or not!

    March 10, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Jack

    I have been reading theposts on this site and am so relieved that the majority who have expressed their views see Karl Rove for what he really is. The Bush gov't came into power with a program designed to manipulate the the American people for their own neocon agenda. And 7 years later, after thousands of dead troops and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, what they they accomplished for us, the American people? The world hates us, economy is in ruins, we have lost many of the civil rights this country was founded on etc,etc.
    It boils me up that i still see Bush/Cheney 2004 bumper stickers on cars..What planet are these people living on? I hope there is a thing called karma because i'd like to see all the Bush supporters get what they deserve.

    Then there are those idiots who are supporting McCain.

    March 10, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. CMS, CA

    Wow. Lots of name calling on this post without any real reasons as to why Rove is a "bad" person. Sounds like sour grapes; had he been on the left, you would celebrate him as a genius.

    March 10, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Jack

    I don't know why people are so mad at Karl Rove.

    Thanks to him, Democrats will pick up seats in the House and the Senate, and win the White House in a landslide.

    He destroyed the country with the help of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and now people loathe Republicans.

    If anyone should be angry with Rove, it should be the GOP.

    March 10, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. TheLeftNut

    Harvey, Tampa, FL wrote:

    …Why in the world do we place so much importance on the thoughts and opinions of 18 to 21 year-olds ….at 44 I know TONS more now than I knew back then…

    Well that's because you weren't smart back then and you're not too smart now. It's just at 44, you're better at DENIAL.

    March 10, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Best $40,000 ever spent. Would have been hilarious to witness!

    March 10, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Nathan

    These students attempted to stop Rove from pursuing his freedom of speech. If you have a good point to make or accusations to throw around that is fine but yelling overtop of other people is rude and counter-productive. Even if you don't like Rove, he is a historical figure and it is expensive to book such a busy man, the students wasted the school's money by not allowing him to speak. If they were actually students of that school then they should be suspended at the very least maybe even full expulsion. I am all for protesting as well but freedom of speech applies to ALL Americans not just the ones you like. And anytime you want to protest a speaker it is appropriate to protest directly outside the event or immediately after the speaker has finished his/her last words. Anything less is uncivilized, anything less is unacceptable.

    March 10, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. jerry

    These two sure get alot of comment response. So what is in between the Leftnut and the Rightnut? Rove's head fits perfectly..............

    March 10, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Smith

    What would one expect from the commie institutions turning out pinkos. The Liberal agenda has gone WAY TO FAR.
    Liberal arts education started out to question things and look for answers and has evolved into nothing more than PROTESTING everything not agreed with.
    Perhaps you so called "liberals" would be well served to research your own history and see what a bunch of idiots you have evolved into!
    Remember this...Freedom is not free! The freedoms you enjoy today have been paid for in blood by real patriots!

    March 10, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Pearl

    To RightyTighty: Iowa doesn't produce many "Einstein's"? I had no idea we didn't produce Einstein possessive. We must be pretty stupid.

    To Jay: Democrats are not left-wing, they are millimeters away from the Republicans. So, all of the "left-wing activism" should have no effect on Democrats.

    I was there, I turned my back on him. He was yelling rudely at the audience members calling one "simple." The most frightening thing was you could see that he really taught himself to believe his lies.

    March 10, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. mary

    Where in the world did Bush ever find a guy like Rove.

    Rove has been intertwined with the Bushes for 35 years:

    'In 1973, when Rove was in a messy dispute as to who would be the chairman of the College Republicans, it was George H.W. Bush, then chairman of the Republican National Committee, who intervened and declared Rove the winner.'
    'In 1977, when the elder Bush decided to run for president, Rove moved to Houston to manage his political action committee, the Fund for Limited Government. Although Bush didn't win the nomination, he did become the vice president under Ronald Reagan. And Rove began changing Texas, which was totally dominated by Democrats, into a state dominated by the GOP.'
    'Once Bush moved into the governor's mansion in Austin, it was Rove who began prepping George W. for the White House'

    That's from a Salon article but there's plenty of other sources.

    March 10, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Listen to yourselves. The hypocracy is astonishing.

    March 10, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. SaneTexan

    RE: Kerry, you Clinton-haters twist every bad turn in America to either Bill or Hillary. The fact is- American had a thriving economy and was respected in the world under Bill. He fixed our deficit, increased our productivity, overhauled welfare. The story is about Rove who us Texans know as the master of deception going back to when Bush was elected our governor. Rove and Cheney should be in jail now not out getting paid to corrupt the minds of students. People need to remember in the debated Democratic nomination. It's the Republicans who got us into this mess. Rove and McCain will keep us at war and will bring more hatred and terrorism against America.

    March 10, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. L

    Boy, it's days like this that I miss living in Iowa City! Go fellow Hawks!

    March 10, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Independant

    Hey Paula, have you noticed that Rove is working for Clinton?

    March 10, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Ken, Suitland MD

    Karl Rove: admitted traitor and a war-mongering chicken hawk. Hypocritical coward of the first order.

    And, tellingly, a true hero to the right -wing, and therefore to the [R] party. I love it when a few of the [R] monkees drop from the trees to treat us to the pathetic thought processes of those that support Rove and the [R] party today.

    That the [R] party is not now defunct after their performance in Congress over the last 14 years and in the white hopuse over the last 8 years is a pathetic comment on the intelligence of our country.

    March 10, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Wiselectorate

    With all the anti Bush-Cheney-Rove sentiment I wonder if the Republicans will have any luck of winning the White House 08.

    Democrats here is your chance and do not mess it up.

    March 10, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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