A group of demonstrators from Occupy Baltimore shouted down Karl Rove, former chief political adviser to President George W. Bush, as Rove spoke last night in Shriver Hall at Johns Hopkins University.
The first of several disruptions came about 10 minutes into a speech by the political-operative-turned Fox commentator, which seemed to be largely a critique of President Barack Obama.
During the disruption captured on an Occupy Baltimore video, Rove was condemning Obama for the size of the deficit (“By the end of last year it was equal to 62 % of GDP. By today, it’s equal to 70% of GDP”) when a woman’s voice can be heard commencing the call-and-response technique Occupy groups use to amplify hard-to-hear speakers.
“Mic check? Mic check! Karl Rove? Karl Rove! Is the architect? Is the architect! Architect of Occupy Iraq! Architect of Occupy Iraq! Architect of Occupy Afghanistan!”
Rove can be heard trying to talk over them.
“OK, here’s the deal. If you believe in free speech then you had a chance to show it,” he says. “If you believe in right of the first amendment to free speech then you demonstrate it by shutting up and waiting until the Q & A session right after…”
The demonstrators chant: “We are the 99%, we are the 99%, we are the 99%” as uniformed Hopkins security guards start grabbing people by the arm and pulling them away. Some go limp and are dragged across the floor.
“Sit down,” a voice can be heard saying, as Rove joins in with a chant of his own: “No you’re not, no you’re not, no you’re not.”
A woman in the audience shouts, “Murderer! Murderer! Shame! Shame!”
A guard flings one demonstrator over his shoulder like a sack of flour and carries him away as the audience cheers and laughs.
At one point during the speech, Rove called the Occupy group “presumptuous and arrogant,” according to an account in The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. At another point, the News-Letter said, “he jeeringly invited a demonstrator to fight him onstage.”
The 60-year-old Rove challenged the protesters to “stop acting like fascists and start acting like Americans.” (We are still trying to find video of a moment in the speech when Rove reportedly referred to “black and brown people,” prompting more heckling.)
Protesters Outside Include Anesthesiologist
The mic checks were part of a larger protest outside Shriver Hall, held before the speech Rove was giving as part of the university’s Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium. (An emailed press release from Occupy said there were 60 people participating in the action. Hopkins officials said about 15 people were forcibly escorted from the auditorium.)
According to the News-Letter, the crowd of critics included a member of the Hopkins class of ’48 who said Rove’s political strategy “is based on a bunch of lies and everybody knows it.”
“I was [at Hopkins] during World War II, and we were proud of what we were doing,” Lawrence Egbert told student reporter Nash Jenkins. “Not this, though. Not this.”
Here are some other videos from the event: