Karl Rove, former senior aide to President Bush, spoke to a hostile crowd at the University of Iowa yesterday evening. Students and local citizens protested his appearance at the university and “staged a mock trial” for Rove inside the student union before the speech.
During the lecture, Rove lashed out at hostile questioners, telling one man his comment showed “a simple, stupid mind” and chastised what he said were “stupid statements” from the audience. Rove also said that former Amb. Joseph Wilson “lied” about his 2002 trip to Niger and accused an audience member of “perpetuating libel” on the U.S. military for asking about the real number of deaths in the Iraq war:
After Rove said most Western intelligence agencies agreed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction prior to the war, Durham said, “When I had dinner with Joe Wilson, that’s not what he said.”
“With all do respect, Joe Wilson lied about his [intelligence gathering] trip to Africa,” Rove responded, drawing more boos. […]
When an audience member asked him about the “true” body count in Iraq, Rove accused the individual of “perpetuating libel on the military of the United States by accusing them of killing innocent Iraqis.”
Responding to a question about CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson’s outing, Rove, seemingly joking, added:
I haven’t been indicted yet, but I fully expect to be by the end of the year.
The University paid Rove $40,000 for the speech and had to agree to limit “recording equipment and flash photography” to “the first five minutes of the lecture.” At the end of the talk, an audience member shouted at Rove: “Can we have our $40,000 back?” Rove replied: “No, you can’t.”
Perhaps Rove needs to keep the $40,000 in expectation of substantial legal fees.