‘Campaign architect’ Karl Rove speaks to students about Gitmo, presidential legacy

Karl Rove spoke to the University of Miami community this past Thursday.  MEGAN TERILLI // HURRICANE STAFF.

Karl Rove spoke to the University of Miami community this past Thursday. MEGAN TERILLI // HURRICANE STAFF.

Karl Rove, one-time deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, spoke to a jam-packed Storer Auditorium at the University of Miami Thursday afternoon.

After a brief opening speech, Rove transformed the event into an open forum during which audience members could ask him a question or engage him in a debate.

The “campaign architect,” as he is commonly called, built a case against President Barack Obama’s order to close Guantanamo, an overseas CIA detention center where terrorists and other “enemy combatants” are held. Obama’s order could enable terrorists to be tried in U.S. courts, to be given undeserved rights afforded American citizens and could cause damaging long-term effects, Rove said.

“One year from now, Gitmo won’t be closed,” Rove said. “If it is, there will be an uproar in the U.S. about where to put these people.”

Interrogation tactics used by the CIA during Bush’s term in office were not torturous, Rove said, but he did not deny that the CIA strongly pressed terrorists for vital information.

“You bet we squeeze them for information,” Rove said. “If we hadn’t, those same terrorists could have executed their plans to kill, and [people]would be asking why Bush didn’t protect American soldiers’ lives.”

A heated exchange erupted between Rove and senior Corey Ciorciari, a longtime intern for the Obama campaign. Cioriciari asked about the ethics of using “fear and deception” as governing tactics.

Rove called Ciorciari’s accusation “cynical and callous.”

“Was it creating fear when we got reports that Saddam Hussein stores secret supplies for chemical weapons, that he had a willingness to use destruction, that he was developing and seeking weapons – that he was an imminent threat to the U.S.?” Rove asked. “These are not quotes by Bush. They’re quotes by Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Kerry.”

A loud applause erupted from the audience, but Ciorciari was not convinced.

“I think it’s nice he came [to speak]after Obama’s inauguration… It’s a testament to how much this country rejected the last eight years,” Ciorciari later told The Miami Hurricane. “What really struck me is his lack of acknowledgment and disappointment. He never owned up to [the administration’s]mistakes. I wish, in retrospect, that I could have said a lot more.”

Other students said they appreciated Rove’s honesty.

“I loved it; he was very informative and very honest about his opinions,” said Sgt. Agbeyegbe Jolomi, a junior who served in Iraq for one year. “I’m happy I came to this event.”

Bush was deeply changed by the Sept. 11 attacks, Rove said, and keeps the badge of a firefighter killed during the rescue effort in his pocket at all times as a constant reminder of his “guiding responsibility to keep the country safe.”

“I know that 9/11 has receded from some people’s minds, but I will tell you it hasn’t left George W. Bush’s mind,” Rove said.

A heartfelt story about Bush’s compassion for the American people and his devastated reaction upon first visiting Ground Zero left many in tears.

“It gave us a new perspective on the Bush administration and the decisions they made,” senior Andrea Whalen said. “If you look at the facts, Bush got an unfair rap. He made a lot of really tough decisions for the best interest of the nation. It was really great when [Rove] finally set the record straight.”

Rove still encouraged attendees to support the new president, stating that he “wishes Obama success.”

“It was fantastic, more than what I expected,” said Remy Flor, a junior and fan of Rove’s. “To see him in the flesh was great, and the presentation reinforced my views.”

Sarah B. Pilchick contributed to this article.

January 24, 2009


Chelsea Kate Isaacs

115 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “‘Campaign architect’ Karl Rove speaks to students about Gitmo, presidential legacy”

  1. daveinboca says:

    Karl Rove may well be the nucleus of a Republican “brain trust” in exile. Rush Limbaugh is already the target of Obama’s wrath, as is Sean Hannity. I wonder if the Dems will try to take on talk radio?! My guess is no way….

    It’s good to see a college newspaper that treats Bush and Rove fairly, without the screechy ideology common for the creepy undergrads trying to mau-mau the flak catchers. I think U of Miami is better than the Ivy League pass-fail diploma mills…

  2. Rob B says:

    Corey Ciorciari comes across as a typical Obama Kool-aid drinker. Will he own up to the fact that on Day 2 of Obama’s Presidency 10 civilians were killed in Afghanistan by a military drone? Does this make his hero a murderer? Does this mean that Obambi is slaughtering innocents? This is the type of insane nonsense that Bush has to deal with from the likes of Corey Ciorciari.

  3. CaneAble says:

    Wow. UM has got the Young Republicans out in force on this one. Seems they brought out their parents too. Let’s see…Karl Rove “slams” a college student in a debate framed to give him a platform to continue to serve as lead apologist for HIS and former President Bush’s legacy and the gallery goes wild. What a surprise.
    Bush won two elections. The most recent on the back of the ‘ol “vote for me or you’ll die stump”. Those who voted him either drank that kool aid or are entrenched red-laundry-rooting Republicans who think political parties and elections are sports teams and immaterial sporting events.
    Did Bush have tough decisions to make? Of course he did. That was indeed his job. But so many of them were the wrong decisions precipitated not because he was a conservative/republican but because he and his cronies (like Rove) had a warped idea of governance. It was all about dubious political capital, gut feelings and lasting majorities.
    Get real. get some objectivity.

  4. Jamie Bartlett says:

    Somebody please introduce Karl to Dexter the next time he’s down in Miami.

  5. Rich says:

    Anyone notice that the very first posts were all pro Rove/Bush…everything to follow were more sane. Looks like the FLorida trailer trash were up early.

  6. Grant Devereaux says:

    Under Karl Rove’s beloved Bush Administration, if you are suspected of terrorism – without any proof – you can be arrested and flown to a secret prison overseas and tortured until you confess. You are not entitled to a lawyer or to a hearing or even to confront your accusers. This is known as the suspension of habeas corpus. We have been assured that this would not happen to you if you are an American citizen. Of course the problem is, before you have been arrested and tortured, when exactly do you get to have a hearing to determine if you are an American citizen. We do not carry papers (yet) as they did in Nazi Germany to prove citizenship. (Remember the baby who was detained at the airport because the 8 month old baby had a name similar to someone on the terrorist watch list? DO not give government too much credit for intelligence or even common sense.)

    All governments make mistakes and often. To deny someone a lawyer and a hearing/ trial is barbaric. This period will come to be known as the 8 years America died. Hopefully, though I am not certain, The Bill Of Rights will be restored – but it doesn’t seem Obama or anyone else is too anxious to issue that executive order. We are not out of the woods until they do.

    True Patriots Defend The Constitution. We must repeal the Patriot Act and jail members of the Bush Administration who committed war crimes and treason.

  7. JohnnyKay says:

    Karl Rove may actually be right for once in his miserable life. Gitmo may actually still be open in a year, if only to welcome him, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and Rice as war criminals of the worst order.

    It’s frightening to see so many young people so blinded by the deceptions of the Bush administration and its chief architect, Rove. It makes me wonder how they graduated high school, let alone entered college, if they can’t add two and two and come up with an answer better than an average automaton.

  8. JohnnyKay says:

    Karl Rove may actually be right for opnce in his miserable life. Gitmo may actually still be open in a year, if only to welcome him, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and Rice as war criminals of the worst order.

    It’s frightening to see so many young people so blinded by the deceptions of the Bush administration and its chief architect, Rove. It makes me wonder how they graduated high school, let alone entered college, if they can’t add two and two and come up with an answer better than an average automaton.

  9. Ericka says:

    Here is the start of the Great American Amnesty Tour 09′. Karl Rove should just go away already. What a crook and a liar. America already sees through your tripe and I only hope the whole lot of Bush’s croonies are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  10. Robin Carre says:

    Just a small sample of Rove’s reign of error. His “predictions’ are not serious meditations on the future, they are intended to serve immediate political ends. Then he relies on the media memory hole and Fox News to flush it all away and he starts over again.

  11. John says:

    “Keep it up, chumps, and you’ll really ruin the country/economy, and lead us to a Depression instead. And more terror attacks in the US.’ -Mitchell

    Yes after the policies you support did all these things you warn about you tell us to watch out or changing these policies will get the same results?

    Your party already destroyed the economy, already grew government at a record rate, already destroyed a surplus, already created a record defecit, already destroyed the budget, already sstalled on immigration reform, already turned the justice departent into a branch of the lunatic righ wing, already dismissed Habeus Corpus, already dismissed the constitution, already stretched our military, already spent billions of unaccounted money, already commited war crimes, already lied to the American people,etc……

    But if we don’t listen to you, the other party MIGHT do these things too?

    You can not support crazy and failure and expect your oppinion to be taken seriuosly. You sound like a jailhouse lawer on death row.

  12. gougrec says:

    Karl Rove will go down as one of the biggest liars in American history. Did he acknowledge that the Guantanamo detainees have been held without ever being charged or tried? Did he remind anyone that this was possible due to the heinous Patriot Act that effectively suspends habeas corpus, which is one of the founding principles of our democracy? Did he discuss rendition — the equivalent of state-sponsored kidnapping that was a policy of the Bush administration? Even criminals and terrorists deserve fair trials, no?

  13. zkazan says:

    “It was really great when [Rove] finally ‘set the record straight’.”

    No need of further comment, now is there? I’m sure Karl set the ‘record straight’.

  14. John says:

    How many times does Karl Rove have to lie before you people get it? Karl Rove has a career filled with lies and slimey poltical tricks and games. THis man has zero credibility in any discusion of poltics. Until the supporters of the republican party wise up and shows at least an intrest in hearing the truth over “tell them what they want to hear” Rove tactics the party will remain the broken collection of incompitence it has become. We really need this party to rise above the Rove nonsenese and bring something positive to the table.

    If the Republicans just being the anti American party they will not help anyone on any side.

  15. damocles says:

    Can we get a jailhouse interview with Scooter Libby, too?

  16. Plotinus says:

    So, let me ask… is Univ. of Miami a bastion of backwards, jingoistic thinking regarding politics? I would guess so by the relative lack of comments in this school newspaper that might have accurately identified Rove as a chief architect (“Bush’s Brain”) of one of the most godless administrations in American history. Thank God we have someone in Washington now who will not appeal the basest of our emotions but, rather, the best of our American values and aspirations. Is there a place that I can send money to help Guantanamo close? – because that’s the right thing to do. The closure of Guantanamo – may be one of a long string of actions that undo the pejorative legacy of such small, small man and Karl.

  17. Continuum says:

    Praising Rove for his honesty is like praising Hitler for his peaceful nature.

    Rove should be in the Hague standing before a war crimes tribunal instead of spewing his lies in speaking engagements.

  18. David says:

    “Bush Derangement Syndrome”
    Bush has always been deranged and his syndrome has no cure. The right wing enablers are blind to the destruction and stupidity of the man and his antiAmerican crusade. Rove is the Nazi perpetrator of the worst regime in USA history.

  19. MickGabe says:

    Karl Rove is the most Despicable Actor in American History, he should go by the way of a “Benedict Arnold” as he has done against the American People and many other Nations and Nationalities……I Hope God Blesses this president and all he stands for and not the Archaic Philosophy of the “Illuminati” or “Knights of Templar”…… Carlyle Group and More…………………

  20. Bill Banks says:

    Wait, wait… is this the Karl Rove who predicted a year and a half ago that Obama wouldn’t stand a chance against Hillary?

  21. John Cahill says:

    Was Bush affected by 9/11? Of course he was…it’s call GUILT! The whole 8 year obsession with grabbing power and waging war was simply Bush’s compensation for his early failure to protect the country. We needed a man, and we got a boy…a warped, twisted little rich boy with Daddy issues.

  22. V I PETE says:

    Carl Rove is part of a renegade government that perpetrated a survivalist mentality and used fear to control Americans solely to get themselves elected again. 9/11 happened because they were all not doing their job. They let us down and few are willing to admit this fact. As a cover up they lied about weapons of mass destruction and diverted attention with a senseless war. They were aided by a media concerned with selling fear and war, to sell soap. In this way they helped to create the terrorist menace, which was used to strip the American people of their basic human rights and make their cronies rich in the process. The economic crisis is just part of the bad decisions his regime made. Rove will never have credibility again as far as I am concerned. His regime failed us all miserably. As far as Israel goes they have been complicit in the ‘control by fear’ policy by continuing to stir up things on all their borders. The more problems they have the more dollars the USA will throw at them. Their harsh policies created a Hamas. It behooves both Hamas and Israel to keep hostility alive, because they both receive funds if there is a problem. If there is peace they get nothing. Think about it. it is all about money.

  23. ShiSam! says:

    I nearly threw up after reading the first several comments.

  24. Mitchell says:

    bugster, what about Dodd with countrywide–he’s the chief federal oversight over banks? Or Barney Frank and Maxine Waters shouting down admin. officials several years ago when they urged a tightening of lending standards on subprime, prime loans. Pres. Clinton signed Gramm Leach Bliley which deregulated the finance industry.

    Jesus God you’re a stupid F’er.

    Funny though.

  25. Mitchell says:

    bugster, we leave the lyin’ cheatin’ election stealing to you guys: ever read about the Governor of Illinois. Pick up the paper son.

    Or cheaters like Geithner, or Rangel. Dems. both.

    Or, Pres. Johnson in his first Senate bid, or Kennedy in Illinois with the Daley machine.

    Or in 2008, the goons outside some of the Phil. precincts not letting Repubs. inside.

    How about ACORN.

    Pitiful that you can’t muster any FACTS for any of your arguments.

  26. bugster says:

    by the way mitchell einstein, bushie is the only one to blame for this economy. the buck stops with him, the “leader”, bub. try opening your mind instead – novel idea. try it you might like it. he he. you gave me a good laugh

  27. Mitchell says:

    OD–you’re an F’n idiot.

    When in history have 2 of the tallest buildings in the country been reduced to rubble with thousands inside by an enemy without country or uniform. This has been going on for ever? My ass it has. Drawing these stupid moral equivalencies has always tarnished liberal/Dem. credibility.

    I don’t know about you, but when I get on a plane, I think about terrorism, and hope my gov’t is doing everything is can to protect me. If you don’t mind the threat, then you’re a sad person–you’d risk the lives of your family and friends to prove a negative about whether terrorism can really affect you.

    Our porous borders, the stealth of the terrorist, and the availability of weapons of immense power in small packages, makes your opinion laughable. Those who will not read, think, confront reality, are doomed to cock up my life, so I resent it terribly.

  28. bugster says:

    rovester is laughable. talk about kool-aid drinkers! anyone who listens to his “truth” is drinking it. extreme rt wing conservatives are stiff, close minded people who won’t even begin to think creatively. Oh, I forgot, they don’t know what creative means unless it has to do with lying, and cheating to win elections.

  29. Mitchell says:

    If Rove’s such a nincompoop, how did he beat the Dems. twice with Bush as Pres? Don’t blame the voters, you gave them a crap alternative both times.

    All this commentary about Rove the Criminal, Bushco, etc. is clear evidence of petty minds and nothing but ad hominems (look it up, it’s abig word–don’t forget to spell it correctly if you’re using a computer, illiterates).

    You Dims. couldn’t possibly be bothered for any unique ideas re Gitmo, or anything else for that matter, after 8 years of Bush making the decisions you all would have been too meek to make.

    Contraceptives and Wash. Mall Memorial grass for a stimulus plan, a “study” re what to do with Gitmo. Sheehs, you’re Savior is making Bush look better and better every day. Keep it up, chumps, and you’ll really ruin the country/economy, and lead us to a Depression instead. And more terror attacks in the US.

  30. OD says:

    “RyanD. Says:

    So wait, Gitmo detainees have magic powers now?

    Throw them in prison in the states, they aren’t going to magically float away or disappear into thin air. Why is everyone so afraid of these people?”

    That’s been their strategy for the last 8 years. FEAR. Why is everyone afraid of these people? Because they want us to be. They want us to keep believing these guys are some sort of super weapons sent in by some super evil masterminds that have us by the balls. Which of course they aren’t. They are bunch of primitive cavemen with nothing but antiquated strategies living in caves in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Every person in every nation of the world will always be at some sort of risk from terrorism. This illusion they pull over your eyes and tell you we are going to “defeat” terrorism and be “safe.” Is complete and utter crap. Terrorism has been going on for thousands of years; it’s probably one of the older forms of warfare. Deal with it. The war on terror is nothing more than just another “war on drugs.” Just a slogan to keep people scared so we keep pumping money into their government programs and into ultimately government contractors. It all comes down to money people. They couldn’t care less about you and your family. But they sure do care about those multi-million if not billion dollar contracts to buy fancy equipment and other assorted stuff to keep you “safe.”

  31. TalkingSquid says:

    I kinda like Karl.He and Newt and Mr.Cheney all seem like nice fellows who’d be fun to hang with.Maybe go Wii Bowling with.

  32. RyanD. says:

    And AMEN to D. Friedman.

    Nukes are designed to kill 100’s of thousands. Terrorism is not.
    Army brigades are designed to kill 100’s of thousands. Terrorism is not.

    Bush did not “keep us safe”, for the aim of terrorism was to alter our freedoms, our way of life, our way of treating each other, etc. and it did just that. Life in the United States has not been the same since 9/11 because Bush allowed us to be TERRORIZED with these orange alerts and duct tape and torture.

    George Bush = failure, forever.

  33. RyanD. says:

    And might I add…



  34. RyanD. says:

    So wait, Gitmo detainees have magic powers now?

    Throw them in prison in the states, they aren’t going to magically float away or disappear into thin air. Why is everyone so afraid of these people?

    Laughable. Oh, and Karl Rove is one of the most despicable human beings on the planet, and calling him a human is giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  35. undrgrndgirl says:

    one can only hope that gitmo will stay open – with the inmates comprised of: rove, bush, cheney, rumsfeld, rice, gonzales, ashcroft and well, you get the idea!!

  36. ashlee says:

    I’m glad that I crossed this school off my list early in the game.
    You guys are a bunch of tools.

  37. patty says:

    The hate spewed by Obama supporters is amazing. Rove must be silenced!! No conservative voices on a college campus permitted!! Bush is evil and caused 9/11!!
    Rove must die!! Bush and Chenney should go to jail!! The U.S. army are the real terrorists!! I wonder often why I never hear such hatred from the left directed at Bin Laden and his ilk? I laugh whenever I read about the left being described as tolerent, open minded and compassionate, unless you dare to disagree with them.

  38. jane says:

    “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    has Karl ever even read the constitution?

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    and that is just the beginning…he doesn’t promote ANY of these things!

  39. maggs says:

    I would be curious to read these comments in 4 years. So much hate from people. I would think we are sick of hating people. President Obama did not create the problems the country is facing. My hope is he will have the wisdom he needs to get the country back on safe ground. Guantanimo or anything else won’t matter much if he doesn’t.

  40. Roberto Jesus says:

    It’s real important that at a time like this that we stay conservative. It will be a rough 4 years. Palin 2012!

  41. Anil says:

    I am sorry – believing Karl Rove is crazy! 9/11 was a tragedy, no doubt BUT to squander the opportunity to unite the world and turn to a new direction was a catastrophe!

    The American people rejected rightly the legacy of the BUSH years and so the Republicans as this party has bought the greatest nation on earth to its knees. Wrong policies on environment, terror, economy, health, race, stem cell research etc etc, just to name a few areas.

    I think the biggest learning is that a President should be above ideology and work for the betterment of the people not in a left or right manner…

  42. Grant Devereaux says:

    I’m sorry, but the best thing that could happen to the GOP and to America is for Karl Rove to suddenly drop dead. I have never seen so much evil concentrated into one man before. Please, Karl, get ye to hell.

  43. Cob says:

    Whoa! I was getting pretty freaked by those ist few repug comments. So like Rove to send his trolls in to blow his own horn for him. I am really relieved to read the majority of comments from the sane people who voted for and support President Obama. Remember it is “unAmerican” to not support your Prez, right Karl???

  44. Zephyr says:

    It’s delightful to see Rove ousted from having any power and being relegated to giving Q&A’s in gymnasiums…It simply epitomizes the irrelevancy that this man so justly deserves….

  45. Sam says:

    “9/11 hasn’t left Bush’s mind” Gee, what a surprise. You know what they say about criminals, they often return to the scene of the crime. Bush masterminded 9/11 and in his mind, it’s his greatest accomplishment.

  46. 1984 says:

    Bush and company NEEDED 9/11. Check the PNAC blueprints. It was exactly what they wanted and they had even focused on Iraq way before 9/11 like with Cheney’s energy task force.

  47. Robert says:

    I don’t believe in torture but I would make an exception for Rove and other
    Bushies. Just long enough to get the truth, though I doubt the truth could
    pass their lips even if tortured.
    As for his claim that some of the released rejoined the terrorist, well if
    someone locked me up for 5-7 years and tortured me I’d be quite pissed.
    Could you really blame them if they became what they were accused of?
    Bush and his cronies, including Rove, pissed on our constitution and gave
    the one finger salute to the rest of the world. They should all be prosecuted
    and jailed. Rove could be someone else’s “bitch” in jail.

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