Gearing up for this November’s presidential election, TCNJ’s College Republicans, a student organization, hosted Karl Rove in Kendal Hall last Thursday. Rove spoke to about 400 students and members of the public about the implications of the 2012 presidential election.
Rove, a current contributor to and political analyst for Fox News, and co-founder of the Republican super PAC, American Crossroads GPS, garnered national recognition during George W. Bush’s presidency, when he served as Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff.
A Mitt Romney supporter, Rove was critical of the Obama administration and voiced concerns about the future of current college students and recent graduates.
In an interview before his lecture, Rove stated why he thinks college students should be paying close attention to this election. “The scary thing is we have so many people who are delaying the start of their lives. They have to move back in with mom and dad rather than launching out in their own careers, and that’s not good for the country,” he said.
“We want to have lots of opportunities for young people to follow their dreams to either pursue a specific career, start a business—do whatever it is that they want to do and have a sense of opportunity and optimism at the beginning of their career,” he said.
During his lecture, Rove focused on the current Republican message of what he called reformed conservatism, in which the private sector is detrimental to economic growth. He also touched on the future of Medicare and Social Security and shared his thoughts on the immediate and future ramifications of the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as “Obama Care.”
Rove said the Affordable Care Act is “simply unsustainable” and “paid for by borrowing money from Medicare, which is going broke.” He tied the Act into a very important issue for college students: federal loans. “Federal student loans are now used as a financing source for ‘Obama Care.’ Now that just doesn’t make any sense,” he said.
After the lecture, Tim Phenninger, College Republican chair, was joined onstage by Alex Zucker, College Democrats chair. They handpicked questions from the audience about a variety of issues regarding the presidential campaign and current affairs, including Rove’s opinions on the current political discourse on the campaign trail and how he felt the current administration handled the recent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
In the end, Rove said he believes that with Republican leadership and a strong private sector, college students stand a chance at prosperity.
“You got a lot of things going for you: you’re getting educated in a good school, you live in a beautiful state, you got hopes and aspirations and dreams and you have every opportunity—you should have every opportunity. That’s the great thing about our system,” he said.