Karl Rove’s speech at the downtown Phoenix Sheraton Tuesday started out with about as much intrigue as I expected from the top political advisor for former President George W. Bush; for the first half-hour he flaunted an uncanny grasp for statistics as he explained exactly what’s wrong with the health care law and predicted how the 2012 elections would pan out if voters followed the same patterns as they did on Nov. 2.
It was numbers overload, even for someone who routinely tracks those things.
Honestly, I kept myself busy during that portion of the speech by imagining just how dangerous the security detail sitting next to the stage really was. You gotta’ think they put some pretty experienced bodyguards on guys like Rove, whom is routinely the subject of protests for his role in the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in the Middle East.
Twice, in fact, during Rove’s speech, protesters barged into the room to shout something that was unintelligible from where I was sitting. Rove just kept talking while authorities wrangled the protesters out of the ballroom, unfazed as if that’s what always happens during the Phoenix Chamber’s luncheon speeches.
As usual, Rove got more interesting toward the end when people in the crowd got to forward their questions through moderator-on-stage Russell Smolden. One of the questions was whether Rove had insight on the 2012 GOP presidential candidates and, if so, which one was the frontrunner.
Rove replied by saying it was too early to name a frontrunner because there is no single heir-apparent as there has been for the GOP during recent election cycles.
Instead, he rattled off 10 potential nominees: Former New York Gov. George Pataki, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. TIm Pawlenty, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and South Dakota Sen. John Thune.