VIDEO: Occupy Baltimore “mic checks” Karl Rove during Johns Hopkins speech

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Former chief Bush aide Karl Rove called the hecklers he faced at a Johns Hopkins speech “fascists,” “presumptuous” and “arrogant.” They called him a “murderer.”

Photo by: Screengrab Youtube

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:

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  • Admiral Lobeam

    Rove: “we’ll go at it hand-to-hand” what a windbag! Carl Rove has never been in a fight in his life. Instead of serving in the military and going to Vietnam like many his age in the fall of 1970, Rove used a false identity to enter the campaign office of Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Treasurer of Illinois. He stole 1000 sheets of paper with campaign letterhead, printed fake campaign rally fliers promising “free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing”, and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters, with the effect of disrupting Dixon’s rally. He’s a bum that has never done anything except stick his nose up Bush senior and G W Bush’s keester… 

  • Gerald Neily

    Cranky Karl Rove could learn a lot from Baltimore – urban center of the nation’s most affluent liberal state – where the citizens are so uniformly happy with the schools, housing, economy and social fabric that hardly anyone votes and the mayor is elected by virtual proclamation.

  • Brian T. Johnson

    Karl Rove, agree or disagree with him, was an invited guest on campus. Like all, he has the right of free speech, and was given the prerogative of exercising that right at Johns Hopkins. Those who interrupted the event in an attempt to silence somebody with whom they disagree violated both the spirit of the First Amendment, and the honor of the academic institution which promotes a free exchange of ideas and relies on basic norms of civility to do so. I can understand passionate disagreement with  Mr. Rove and his policies, but what I do not understand is why this kind of anti-social, anti-intellectual form of bullying should be condoned, let alone applauded. 

    • Dahlen

      Bravo, sir. Extremely well articulated argument, that unfortunately apparently goes beyond the comprehension of the ill-mannered extremists. Thanks for being a voice of reason in this intolerant, radical forum.

      • Berriesinacup

        Radical is a bullshit word that means nothing and is used to both make fun of and delegitimize people.  It is an intolerant word in itself.

        Why do you call this forum intolerant?  I myself have addressed you with respect in the spirit of open debate and education and I have yet to see any trend of comments that are intolerant.  
        And as to going “beyond the comprehension of the ill-mannered extremists”, where have you been for the past day?  This phrase is insulting and wrong.

        • Dahlen

          I appreciate your willingness to engage in open debate, but let’s not kid ourselves. I’m not going to influence your views and you’re not going to influence my views. The gulf between our positions is too large.

          Sorry you don’t like the term “radical”. Let’s look at a definition of radical: “favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.” This sounds like an appropriate term to me.

          After reading your writings, I have come to consider you radical as well. The tipping point for me was your endorsement of violent revolution, if it came to it. To me, that is such an extreme view, as it applies to this country, that there is no point in debating further. I believe that people with views like me would take up arms if it came to it, to violently combat people like you who would seek to overthrow the government of this nation, if you and others like you decided to do so.

          If it came to that, I’m firmly convinced that this movement would be annihilated. I sincerely hope that this movement doesn’t come to that end.

          • Cypressdm

            RE:  willingness to engage in open debate.

            To all commentators here.  Name calling is not debate (e.g., radical, fascist, anarchist).  The farther people with concerns are pushed into the corner, the louder the response will be.   Instead of declaring the gulf between us as being too wide, I suggest everyone get in their ideological boats and start rowing toward the center. 

    • Berriesinacup

      If events had happened as you said they did, I would wholeheartedly agree with you.  But I want to walk through your logic with you, for a minute.

      As it stands, some of the pre-cursors you mentioned are not accurate.  First, you can’t be “given the prerogative of exercising [free speech]” as it is an inherent right of being born an American.  So, taking that in hand we can look at the people who interrupted the event as exercising their inherent right against this man who has been exercising his to suppress them for years.  Let me know if you would like evidence of this.

      As far as JHU being an academic institution with honor, I’d like to ask you to elaborate on that and how that relates to this conversation.  If you mean that the Occupiers disrespected the students themselves who invited Rove to speak, this is perhaps true.  However, there are no “basic norms of civility” that are being followed here, which is what the Occupiers want to call attention to.  If there had been an honest, open forum in which to address this man and the students that invited him, there would be no Occupy movement.  It has risen NOT as a bunch of “anti-social, anti-intellectual … bullying” or extremists getting together and getting each other off…  It has risen because people are finally waking up to the fact that such an open, honest forum DOES NOT EXIST and their inherent rights are being CONSTANTLY suppressed, though it has been subtle and supported by the supposed ‘people-driven’ media and hard to see, much less address.

      Also, just in general, this interruption was a very intentional, well-informed, factual act of civil disobedience.  It was (more than the original speech, I would argue) completely intellectual, as well as social.  

      You do make a good point, but I want to ask you to look at the situation in which we find ourselves, where this kind of ‘perfect-world, everyone is civil’ logic and parameters don’t exist on the side of Rove.  The people have been playing nice all along, and now that they are actually seizing their rights through the nly opportunities available to them, they are being labelled as “extreme” or “anti-intellectual”.  Which is false.

  • Berriesinacup

    I don’t believe they are the same tactics.  Maybe it would be clarifying to look at it this way:

    Rove has (for years) held back information and lied.  Plenty of evidence for this and I don’t think anyone is actually defending the guy here.  He has quite literally silenced others.

    The Occupiers are looking to expose information.  They are looking to GIVE voices and a place to share opinions, knowledge, speaking.  This man is suppressing so many others and the Occupy movement is looking to make that obvious.  He’s not going to all of a sudden follow the rules and let go of his power, so it’s time for him to step down.  If not, we’ll help him down to make room for the rest (read, the entire rest) of the country.

  • Anonymous

    Rove is a smug son of a gun.  I have been to these lectures at Shriver Hall.  The JHU students are often like compliant poodles with the speakers.  If Rove had been treated politely and if the protesters had waited in line to speak, their turn would have never come.  The student in charge of the lectures would have hustled Rove to eat his after speech pizza and swill his coffee before marching the King of Machinations and Mayhem to his limousine, licking his boots all the way to his vehicular transportation–well ahead of the probing questions, politely posed. 

    The question and answer sessions in these so called democratic gatherings are an exercise in “shamocracy”.   Wait your turn, be polite, do not interrupt, don’t pose the difficult questions, respect the asinine, bow to the kingmakers, capitalism works blah, blah, blah are the hammers forged by the forgers, the counterfeiters and the outright thieves, to hammer independent thinkers into the conformists they can manipulate and control. 

    This country is not a democracy.  It is a kleptocracy for the ilk of Karl Rove.  It is not a meritocracy–it is on its way to becoming an established “illiterocracy”, a plutocracy, a “conformocracy” and an “idiocracy”.   The Occupy Movement is a desperate, last ditch attempt to seize the shreds from the abyss. 

    Take Gingrich for instance.  It has come to light, that the man, for years, has been writing op-ed articles in newspapers, supporting those folks who paid off his non profit organization.  The many words he wrote turned huge profits for him, not from the newspapers, no sir, but from his cronies and buddies.  He was a shadow writer for the rich, pushing what seemed like legitimate causes but basically promoting lies he would not have spewed on paper if he had not been paid off.  If he is invited to JHU could you stand up and ask him about this fraud?  Before the pizza and the coffee, could you? 

    And if you managed to squeeze in your question, if you managed to get in your two bit worth, what would the student in charge of the whole damn shamocracy do?  The student will stop the show, will point to some old debilitated clock on a wall in the hall, hold the speaker by the elbow and hustle him away into the farthest reaches of the dungeons of JHU to save him from your questions.  I know this to be a fact because it has happened to me.  That’s what politeness will get you–a brush off.   And that is why you must shout above the din, that is why you must tell the plutocrats you are up to their global tricks, their twists, turns, moral turpitude and hypocrisies. 

    You know and you let them know you know.  If you have to interrupt them, it has to be so,
    because if you wait your turn you will be no more than burned toast for their garbage.  As for Karl Rove’s right to speak and JHU students’ right to hear an astute political commentator, indeed those rights stood.  Weren’t the shouters removed?  That is the price they were willing to pay to tell Karl Rove what they thought of him.  A man who robbed the peace of many worthy citizens of this world deserves to have his own peace disrupted once in a while.  Go Occupy!         

  • Anonymous

    Written in reply to those who derogate the protesters of OCCUPY as “fleabaggers” and revised for the BREW

    The phantom stocks and empty swaps–
    The lies the traitors perpetrated–
    From their lofts and from their mansions,
    Aided in their crass expansions-
    By the elected in our Congress,
    You too a pawn in that chess game,

    Unless you’re shilling for the winners,
    On-line, off-line, even on concrete–
    The fleas will crawl up on the kleptos–
    And on the poor judgment judges,
    They will keep proliferating,
    Adjusting, adapting and mutating–

    Up against exterminators,
    Fleas and roaches are survivors,
    Get your repellents, wear your collars,
    O pathetic ones on stolen dollars.


  • Moonirams

    keep building.  one of these days everyone will walk out with you and he will be left standing by himself chanting no you’re not.  unfortunately some americans are still brainwashed by these criminals into being complicit with crimes against humanity, crimes against the earth and crimes against the spirit of life.  blessed be the protesters. 

  • Bfleur01

    aren’t the facists the ones that blitzed and invaded other countries to impose their will on those that they disagreed with,like in iraq?

  • michael megowan

    I wonder if he would send me a photo of himself so I can hang it on the fridge to show my kids what a real sack of shit looks like.

  • Gregg Gant

    We live in a era of ultra staged/scripted political events. This is an example of protesters exercising their right to free speech and I think they are doing these speakers a favor by growing out their talking points. If speakers like Rove had something serious to say, I’m sure the protesters would listen.

  • Dan

    If the opposition to Karl Rove is the Occupy Wall Street folks, they get endless ink and television coverage.  They do not lack for access to outlets for their views.  The trouble is, it is hard to figure out what their views are.  Every story I see, even from sympathetic reporters, and most reporters are sympathetic, ends with no clear-cut idea of what they believe or want.  Do they want to close Wall Street firms?  Do they want to frog march employees to jail without due process?  Do they want to confiscate their wealth?  Do they want to end bad behavior?   Everybody wants to do that on all streets.  I have been paying close attention and I have no idea.  Many of the comments justify bad behavior toward Mr. Rove based upon people’s strongly held views that he’s not a good guy.  If I decide that the views of the commenters are repugnant, does that justify any bad behavior I may care to engage in toward them, or does this just apply to Mr. Rove?  By the way, the First Amendment is proscriptive against the government, but expresses an ideal our society holds genrally, and many, many people use reference to it to express generally a right to speak ones mind.   

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