Howard Dean and Karl Rove debate

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Posted Tue, Mar 9, 2010

CU-BOULDER- Two political heavyweights, Howard Dean and Karl Rove, faced off in a highly charged debate in front of 2,000 people at The Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus, Monday night.

Karl Rove served as Senior Adviser to President George W. Bush from 2000 to 2007. He has been noted by the Republican party for providing a strong influence on politics and policy, and continues to contribute to Fox News, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal. Howard Dean, the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and governor of Vermont, has been recognized by the Democratic party for integrating the party’s core values into the current political arena.

The debate was moderated by CU-Boulder Chancellor Dr. Phil DiSteffano, who asked questions regarding health care, nuclear disarmament in Iran and North Korea, and foreign affairs.

Rove began the event, with a 10 minute recap of how President Obama has made too many “mistakes,” while continuing to increase unemployment, and introduce a “lousy” heath care bill.

“We are stalled today because the bill stinks so bad the house cannot even pass it,” Rove said.

Emphasizing on the economic downfall since Obama has been in office, Rove elaborated on the current $100 billion added to the deficit, the 25 percent increase in GDP and 10 percent unemployment. Declaring Obama as the “most polarizing present ever,” Rove finished saying that “it is time to set the reset button.”

Dean responded saying that it is impossible for the Democratic Party to fix all the political and economic problems created by the last President.

“We cannot clean up the eight years of Republican mess in just one year,” Dean said. Dean concluded his opening statement saying that the reason for Obama’s victory was because the Republicans wanted real change, and now the American people have to deliver on that change.

 As for Medicare, Dean declared Rove’s idea as a plan that is “going broke,” saying that instead “we got to fix Medicare, not end it.” One of Dean’s solutions to fixing Medicare is to provide people with a choice in picking their own system that is affordable and effective.

Rove agreed with many of Dean’s health care policies, asking for tax deductions to those who have health insurance, while providing individuals with health care across state lines. Rove, though, demanded for more innovative ways in providing all with health insurance.

Dr. DiSteffano concluded the event by asking both Dean and Rove the steps their party should take to win back the hearts of Americans and target the stimulus bill in order to get small businesses back.

“We must offer a positive optimistic agenda in the near future,” Rove said. “We need to build confidence in people, where they can work in small, medium or large companies.”

Dean fired back saying that the stimulus package has already saved 100,000 jobs, and it did what it had to do. He would, however, ask for Democrats to be tougher in the near future.

“Democrats need to get together and pass bills, we need to be strong and right and that needs to be our message this fall,” Dean said.

Political Science and Philosophy sophomore Nick Smiley, was surprised how often these two “political hot heads” came together, were rational, and were able to reconcile beyond the perspective of the mass media. Expecting it to be just a simple rebuttal, Smiley said he was inspired, and felt his generation should take the messages given by both political figures.

 “The CU-Boulder community should unite, create a community outreach and become a political voice,” Smiley said. “When we come together we can create genuine change.”

The event was funded by both the Distinguished Speakers Board, and student fees, totaling $56,000. CU’s student-run Distinguished Speakers Board mission is to bring speakers of the highest caliber, hoping to intellectually stimulate students and their community. In the past years the board has brought such noted figures a Madeleine Albright, Kofi Annan, Rudi Giuliani, Desmond Tutu, and B.B. King.

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