Voters 'Need to like You,' Rove Says
Zito, Salena, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove -- often dubbed the "architect" of Republican victories in the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections -- told University of Pittsburgh students Monday that anyone who wants to be president must be comfortable with who they are.
Rove spent the afternoon and evening on campus, talking with students first in a class and then in a lecture that drew an estimated 500 young people.
"If you want to run for president, remember the voters are watching you. That's the most important thing to remember, that the voters are watching you," said Rove, a longtime confidant of President Bush.
"It's like the 'Emperor's New Clothes.' They are going to see you as you really are."
Rove, 57, was President Bush's adviser until stepping down in August. A political consultant mostly for Republican candidates, Rove's White House career included heading the Office of Political Affairs, Office of Public Liaison, and White House Office of Strategic Initiatives.
"(Voters) need to like you, but they do not need to agree with you 100 percent of the time," Rove said. "Try to figure out how to get your opponent to attack you because you are always stronger on the counterattack."
Pitt officials said students quickly obtained the 500 available tickets to Rove's lecture, part of professor Gordon Mitchell's course on Cold War rhetoric. The speech was closed to the public.
Rove met with Mitchell's class in the afternoon, before a private reception with Pitt College Republicans.
"I liked the way he explained serious issues in a very pragmatic way," said Cameron Young, 19, of Texas. …