Rove's Portland visit draws little attention

About 150 people attended the event at the Embassy Suites, as a couple of dozen quiet protesters stood outside
by: Jaime Valdez, Michael from the Portland area walks through a crosswalk on S.W. Hall Boulevard in front of protesters shouting, "Hooray, Sadam is dead." Protesters and counter-protesters showed their support on a sidewalk near the Embassy Suites Hotel where political adviser Karl Rove spoke to Washington County Republicans Friday.

When Karl Rove visited Tigard on Friday the atmosphere inside the Embassy Suites Hotel where he spoke was a little different than the atmosphere outside.

Inside was a crowd of about 150 admiring, applauding Republicans who paid $50 to $60 to sit in on his speech. There they heard Rove ask them to continue to support the war effort in Iraq and rebound from the defeats of the November elections.

Outside were a couple of dozen not-so-enamored protesters who were more concerned with Rove's history as a Republican adviser and strategist than with what he had to say in a political speech.

Inside, Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, told those in the tightly packed meeting room that the war in Iraq is 'the defining issue in our generation.' He asked people to think back and remember where they were when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks took place and said that up until then the nation's response to terrorists had been weak.

Then, citing what he called new encouraging signs of victory in Iraq, Rove said the Democrats are more interested in 'mandating failure' than giving President Bush's new strategy of increasing troops in Iraq a chance to work.

Outside, the police presence was palpable - about one-on-one with the protesters. An expected high turnout of protesters failed to materialize, although the ones there peacefully made their voices heard.

David Rosenfeld of Portland said he tried to buy tickets to get into the event and planned to play the Bob Dylan song 'Masters of War' in the meeting, but his money was returned to him.

'We just wanted to let Rove know that he's not welcome in Portland,' Rosenfeld said.

Gary Lineker of Portland was holding a cardboard sign with one word on it - 'Impeach.'

'I think it's incredibly important for folks to protest the trouble that this country is in, and do it peaceably,' Lineker said. 'And I'm glad to be out here with these people doing the same thing.'

Why give so much attention to Karl Rove? 'He is clearly one of the major voices of this administration,' Lineker said.

There is a pending federal lawsuit against Rove, Vice President Dick Cheney and others by former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, outed CIA spy Valerie Plame Wilson. Joseph Wilson accused the Bush Administration in July 2003 of twisting pre-war intelligence on Iraq, and Plame's covert CIA identity was leaked to the press. Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby was recently convicted of lying to a grand jury and to FBI agents investigating the disclosure.

Inside the Embassy Suites, speaking of the war in Iraq, Rove outlined the goals of Osama bin Laden to drive the West out of the Middle East and establish a Muslim empire.

'This is an epic struggle. One side is going to win and one side is going to lose,' Rove told the applauding Republicans. 'Now I don't know about you, but when it comes to this struggle, I know who I want to win. I want the United States of America to win… and we'll win, just as we did against Nazism, fascism and communism.'