CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Longtime Republican political adviser Karl Rove was more interested in talking about problems with Obama administration policies than about his party's strategy for the coming election season.
"I'm here to talk about America's challenges," he told a nearly full auditorium in Memorial Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill on Monday evening. The crowd chuckled when he added, "in my fair and balanced way."
Rove was senior adviser to President George W. Bush from 2000 to 2007 and was deputy chief of staff for three of those years. A Texas native who had run a public relations firm for Republican candidates and other clients in Austin, Rove became known as the architect of Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns. He now writes opinion pieces for the Wall Street Journal, contributes to Newsweek and has written a book, "Courage and Consequence," which was for sale in the auditorium lobby for $25.86.
Tickets to his speech were free, and the event drew a mix of college students and people their parents' age and older.
Rove was invited to campus by the UNC College Republicans, who got funding help from Young America's Foundation, the Committee for a Better Carolina and the conservative Civitas Institute of Raleigh.
It was a peaceful event, unlike an appearance by former presidential candidate Tom Tancredo in April 2009, which drew protesters and resulted in arrests.
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