…and he’s hip enough to have an iPhone.
He’s as smart as you’d imagine him to be. And it’s interesting: I had a friend in college who’d bet you when you went shopping that he could tell you the starting and end points of the California highway with the number of the cents in the bill. Rove has that kind of detailed, visceral sense of American geography.
And what comes across is a deep sincerity and love for the country, and respect for the people who elect it’s leaders.
He listed 31 principles of running a Presidential campaign; many of them centered on the fact that over a long and grueling campaign season, you can’t hide who you are or what you believe. I started to take notes on my Treo, but fell hopelessly behind and gave up. But he was smart, funny, self-depricating, and had one of the clearest understandings of the mechanics of American politics that I’ve ever heard expressed.
And the audience – almost 3,000 people at the American Jewish University lecture series, that was equally divided between Democrats and Republicans (or what the guy who introduced Rove explained Rove would call “a clear plurality”). I was primed for outbursts or at minimum boos at the end – there were some gasps in the face of his strong defense of Iraq – but at the end the entire audience broke int owarm applause. He was that good.
The newsworthy part is his statement that Dana Jill Simpson – the woman who links him to the Spiegelman case on 60 Minutes – is flat-out lying.
He says: “She claims to have met with me in 2001 – when I was in the White House. Where are the records of the meeting? I’ve never taken a meeting with that woman. I have no idea who she is.”
He was absolutely certain in saying that.
And it was a brilliant piece of political jujitsu.
Because if you read the account she is sharing, her claim is that she “swears she heard a top G.O.P. operative in the state say that Rove “had spoken with the Department of Justice” about “pursuing” Siegelman, with help from two of Alabama’s U.S. attorneys.”
…so she’s not claiming Rove spoke with her, but with William Canary.
Ouch. Sincerity – once you learn to fake that, you can fake anything, I guess…