Karl Rove speaks about leadership, White House history at Mount Union

Amanda Stanley

Carl Rove speaks at Mount Union College yesterday afternoon. He spoke about his time working with the Bush administration.

Caitlin Prarat | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Karl Rove, senior political adviser to President George W. Bush, took a crowd of more than 500 through a virtual tour of the White House yesterday at Mount Union College.

Rove spoke for about 45 minutes about the rich presidential history of the White House.

“I’m really here to talk about presidential leadership,” Rove said. Slides behind Rove showed images of the Oval Office, Abraham Lincoln’s bedroom and the East Room. Rove described the impact that former presidents, such as George Washington and Lincoln, had on the White House. He noted how Thomas Jefferson used to hang his laundry to dry in the East room, and how Ronald Reagan made an addition for the presidential desk in order to make it stand taller.

“Presidents must keep the office and the country strong,” Rove said. “I have been at the White House for 2,280 days and counting. I have seen a lot.”

Rove went on to describe the reaction of world leaders and diplomats upon entering the Oval Office.

“Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, walked through those doors and his first words were ‘Oh my God.’ Every room is filled with significant history,” he said.

Rove’s visit to the campus was also surrounded by speculation and rumors. Many of the students didn’t even know he was speaking until yesterday morning.

Sophomore Erica Luscre said she found out about Rove’s visit from one of her professors.

“I just found out. I guess it was some sort of big secret,” Luscre said. “Maybe they didn’t want all of the protesters showing up. I even heard that there were bomb-sniffing dogs on campus.”

Protesters marched up and down the streets outside of Mount Union’s Theatre. Joel Collins, art professor at Mount Union, said he was protesting the administration.

“I want to hear about Rove’s slippery avoidance of testifying under oath about his involvement in the firing of U.S. attorneys,” Collins said.

Don Hobson, retired Mount Union philosophy professor, said he opposes Rove’s political actions.

“Rove is a political disgrace,” Hobson said. “His style of politics is bad and he is ill-advised. I want to know his involvement in the (Scooter) Libby and (U.S. Attorney General Alberto) Gonzales — any area where activities have been suspicious.

“The war was a mistake, and his advice to Bush was a mistake,” Hobson said.

Rove has recently been under scrutiny for his involvement in the firing of eight federal prosecutors. Democrats have been seeking information that may tie Rove to the decision to fire the attorneys. Hundreds of e-mail messages sent using Republican Party accounts have gone missing, including ones to and from Rove.

Contact public affairs reporter Amanda Stanley at [email protected].