Monday, January 7, 2008

Karl Rove on Bush Presidency, American Politics

Passions occasionally ran high during Karl Rove’s appearance at Page Auditorium Monday, with many people applauding the former White House chief political strategist for his remarks about U.S. anti-terrorism efforts and many others hoisting protest signs and voicing concerns about the war in Iraq and the treatment of detainees.

Much of Rove’s discussion with Duke political scientist Peter Feaver, in front of an audience of about 1,000 in Page and an overflow crowd at Reynolds Theater, focused on the Bush presidency and the war in Iraq.

Rove, who stepped down from his White House post in August, said the U.S. does not sanction torture of terrorism suspects. He also said both Republican and Democratic leaders agreed to go to war and that removing the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq had made the world a safer place.

“The United States has nothing to apologize for in its conduct in the world,” he said.
Demonstrators outside of Page Auditorium offered a peaceful protest before and after Karl Rove's talk.

Many in the audience disagreed with Rove on this and other points, with one person shouting out “murderer” and another shouting out “liar” after Rove responses. One couple carried a banner around the auditorium that said “Arrest Him,” and about a dozen people, some wearing orange prison jumpsuits in imitation of prisoners held at Guantanamo, stood outside Page with protest signs before and after the event.

On a separate topic, Rove predicted that if Sen. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for president, she may have a difficult time winning the general election despite her name recognition. He also said that in recent elections Republicans have performed better than expected, blaming scandals – and not the war – for Republican defeats in 2006.

Click here for the story by News and Observer political reporter Rob Christensen

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