By Caitlin Botsios
Karl Rove, the heavyweight Republican counsellor and pundit, finally got his chance to speak at Loyola University Chicago on Tuesday after months of controversy surrounding his ability to appear.
Rove, senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, and now a FOX News regular, was originally scheduled to speak at Loyola during the fall 2010 semester, but the event was cancelled due to Loyola’s concern that sponsoring a political speaker so close to the November midterm election could jeopardize the university’s non-profit tax status.
The cancellation caused an outcry from the College Republicans, the student organization who had planned to host Rove. Group members were persistent in their efforts to reschedule the event to Tuesday.
Rove focused primarily on money during his speech. Discussing the stimulus package, he said, “The President says he’s not going to add a dime to the deficit, and the President is right. He’s not adding a dime. He’s adding gagillions of dimes.”
Rove voiced concerns with the current administration’s agenda saying, “Every major promise that was made about health care isn’t happening.” He continued and stated, “I want cut throat competition with health insurance. I want it to be like auto insurance and commercials on every channel.”
Students in attendance had mixed reviews of his speech.
“I wanted to know where he was getting his facts. He was just throwing numbers left and right,” said Katie Cox, a marketing student.
“I just wasn’t floored by anything that was said,” added Alex Neitzke, a philosophy student.
Marko and Victor Edleke, two students who traveled from Highland, Ind. had positive reviews of the event.
“He gave a lot of truths. He was saying what we should do instead of what we are doing now. He’s just giving a lot of solutions,” Victor Edleke said.
The two students also praised the College Republicans, whom organized the event. “The Loyola College Republicans were really nice. It was a great event,” Victor Edleke said.
The second half of the evening was a question and answer segment.
The longest response came with the question, “What was the most difficult thing you encountered in office?”
Rove gave a 20 minute answer detailing Sept. 11 and the movements that he took with the President that day. A more comical moment of the night came when Rove explained the opening minutes for him on Sept. 11 and the problem that he and then-President George W. Bush encountered when the school they were at did not have a television immediately available.
“I spent the opening moments of the War on Terror stealing a television from a grade school room and running it down a hallway,” Rove mused.
Other questions revolved around actions taken in Libya, independent voters, and campaign management.
Several students in attendance voiced their concerns about how the questions were selected.
“I was very disappointed with the person selecting questions as he was in college republicans and picked what appeared to be bias questions,” said Nick Schuetz a social psychology graduate student.
“I wanted less softball questions. Looking at the audience, only half the people stood when he entered. I know that people asked harder questions that weren’t being asked,” said Erica Price, another social psychology graduate student.
One thing that all parties agreed on at the event was that the controversy didn’t affect the quality of the event. David Wadell, a 50-yr-old business man who traveled in from Minneapolis stated, “I feel that the crowd was extremely respectful and that the controversy really didn’t impact the event in a negative way.”
Lindsay Blauvelt, a junior journalism major said, “While there were a lot of things that I had to bite my tongue at or respectfully agree with, I respect him for coming and feel the event went well.”
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