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Rove wraps it up

Famed presidential advisor and busy Fox News personality Karl Rove wrapped up the GOP convention with a pretty typical, stem-winder speech, touching upon all the classic talking points that are sure to be floated in the fall campaign. Sticking with a generally optimistic tack, Rove focused on U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and advised the Republican delegates to “speak boldly, plainly and clearly,” and concluded that they all must speak with undecided voters to achieve a GOP victory in November. America wants to hear “a bold and optimistic agenda for the future,” he said.

Rod Tietz, a convention delegate from New Prague, heard Rove speak for the first time. He said Rove outlined the party’s opposition to the Democratic candidate Obama.

“I thought he was very energizing and motivating,” Tietz said.

Rove warmed up the audience by pointing out that even though he is a small-town Texan, he’s also a Norwegian, and he’s got some Oles in his family. He dropped in the oft-repeated joke about Norwegians, saying he almost told his wive that he lvoed her; to which she replied, “Don’t you dare.”

Explaining he was a “geography nut,” Rove joked that he was surprised that the party in the state of 10,000 lakes had chosen the only county in the state that doesn’t have a natural body of water.

Entering the buzzword phase of the speech, Rove said that the GOP platform was about prosperity, low taxes, pro-growth policies, free enterprise and a minimum of interference from government, while helping people invest their own money rather than letting the government spend it. Small businesses, innovation, competition and free trade will make America successful, he said.

He quickly turned to criticizing Democrats, especially Sen. Obama’s presidential candidacy. The Dems want to raise taxes and increase spending by more than $600 billion in the next four years, Rove claimed.

Perhaps significantly, Rove never even mentioned U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He also never mentioned former-president husband Bill Clinton.

Rove attacked single-payer health care proposals, and proposed letting health insurers sell insurance across state lines. More health care tax deductions and reducing “junk lawsuits” propagated by trial lawyers were two big targets. An “optimistic, hopeful vision” would entail putting doctors and patients in charge.

He attacked Obama as the son of an anthropologist for his recent notorious remarks about “bitter” small-town voters clinging to guns and religion. Further obligatory references to lapel pins and Reverend Jeremiah Wright followed. He thought that Obama should have put out a sense of moral indignation, rather than personal indignation, when he cut his ties with Wright.

The “surge is working,” he said, and claimed that Obama was essentially calling for American defeat in Iraq. He explained that Nixon’s opening to China was a long and difficult process of many negotiation meetings, to justify condemning Obama’s promises to deal with various unsavory world leaders directly.

Rove also ran with a line that CD6 U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann has used recently, claiming that since the Democrats objected to the FISA bill earlier in the year, the American intelligence community has been unable to open any new investigations of terrorist suspects, which is a line not frequently heard elsewhere from the GOP.

After relating the tale of a middle-aged surgeon who patriotically joined the military (Rove claimed credit for expediting the process), he advised Republicans to talk to undecided voters. People who worship, play, think and act “like you are going to listen to you.” He said that the elections are “not going to be won by John McCain or Norm Coleman” alone, and the rank and file have to energetically turn out the field.

PIM staff writer Dan Feidt, St. Paul Legal Ledger Capitol Report staff writer Charlie Shaw, and Capitol Report managing editor Bill Clements contributed to this report.

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