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April 11, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Republicans speak at banquet in BG

Karl Rove wanted to express his gratitude to Ohio Republicans during his speech on campus Saturday.

“I am here to say thank you,” he told a crowd of nearly 700 Republicans, citing the pivotal role Ohio played in the presidential election of 2004. “You all had something to do with keeping me employed for the next four years.”

Rove, chief political adviser to the president and one of the architects of the modern Republican Party, spoke in the Union Ballroom on Saturday as the keynote speaker of an annual banquet held by local U.S. Congressman Paul Gillmor, Bowling Green’s representative.

Along with thanking those involved in the re-election effort, Rove also highlighted many key components of Bush’s agenda including the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping and tax cuts.

While Rove touched on many national issues he did not mention political crises that Ohio Republicans face. The crises came after Gov. Bob Taft, Attorney General Jim Petro and State Auditor Betty Montgomery were implicated in the Coingate scandal involving one-time BGSU trustee Tom Noe.

Rove also did not mention the now abandoned Dubai port deal, an issue that is causing a divide within Republican ranks.

Rove championed Republicans’ values and principles, while claiming that Democrats were too soft to fight terrorism and wanted to raise taxes in good times and bad.

Rove accused Democrats of wanting to “cut and run” out of Iraq. Calling troops back from Iraq would make the conflict worse, and “would undermine the morale of our military,” Rove said.

“As long as America stands with them, the Iraqi people will reject al-Qaeda’s attempt to provoke a civil war, choosing instead to move further along the path of democracy,” Rove said.

And that’s why the administration will not remove troops from Iraq, he said.

In a slight shift of message, Rove did not once refer to the “war on terror” or “war against terrorism.” Instead, he used the phrase “war against Islamic fascism.” Rove has used the phrase a number of times since late January in various speeches around the country.

He also criticized Democrats for opposing other Republican initiatives, including the renewal of the Patriot Act, which became official last week.

“America is safer,” he said, noting that, “Republican support and Democrat opposition of the Patriot Act will be a big issue in this November election.”

He defended the Patriot Act and controversial surveillance methods, including using roving wiretaps without a warrant on suspected terrorists. He said it was easier to keep tabs on criminals and mobsters than it was to keep track of possible al-Qaeda members.

“[President Bush] was determined to put an end to it. He said as long as we’re being tough on criminals let’s be tough on terrorists too.”

He also expressed the importance in making President Bush’s 2003 tax cuts permanent. Rove said the nation’s leading economists agree that these cuts helped spur the economy. He warned that ending them would be equivalent to giving the majority of Americans an unneeded tax hike.

“We cut taxes at just the right time,” Rove said.

Rove celebrated less government spending, which he credited to Republicans for reducing or cutting 141 government programs. Rove also thanked the crowd for supporting both new conservative Supreme Court judges, Samuel Alito and John Roberts.

Rove noted that Republicans have a stronghold in Congress, and 28 gubernatorial seats. That’s a majority Rove said he wants maintain in the upcoming election. He stressed the importance of not falling into the same malaise the Democrats found themselves in once they were accustomed to being in power.

“We have gone from a minority party with little influence to one that is broad and inclusive, self-assured and optimistic, forward thinking and dominant,” he said.

And with more hard work, Rove said he is confident that Republicans could make even more strides.

—-

Reporter Sean Corp contributed to this story.

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