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Karl Rove Credit: Mordechai Treiger

As divisive as he may be, conservative political adviser Karl Rove is still an attraction to those interested in the upcoming elections.

On Monday, Rove spoke to an audience of about 100 attendees at the National Constitution Center, at 525 Arch St., regarding his newly released autobiography and the midterm elections.

Among Rove’s opinions on the current political landscape was the unlikelihood of young voter turnout.

“Younger voters … are not really engaged in a bunch of old people,” Rove said, recalling that the “hip, inspirational African-American candidate in 2008” did get them to turn out in record numbers.

“Those people inspired by Obama’s presence on the ballot in ’08 will not be inspired by his absence,” he said. “And it’s a shame because the issues of excess and debt will affect our children and our grandchildren,” he added, citing government-backed student loans and health care legislation.

According to College Republicans President and Engineering junior Peter Terpeluk, Rove is “probably accurate” about youth voter turnout. “Young folks are easily sensationalized … and in an election that isn’t sensationalized, you aren’t going to attract as many young people to vote,” Terpeluk said.

However, Rove also espoused a greater effort on the part of candidates to take “the battle onto the campuses as much as they can.”

“I know I’m not the most popular guy on campus. I got onto UC Santa Barbara — it took about two police cars, but I did it,” Rove said.

Rove also made several political predictions. He said that he was “feeling good about the House” for Republicans. In addition, he said he believes there will be a total of “31 or 32” Republican governors and that the GOP will pick up eight to nine seats in the Senate.

In regards to Pennsylvania, Rove said the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey will be interesting to watch. “You’ve got relatively fresh younger faces, but there’s a classic ‘right versus left, conservative against liberal,’ and it’ll be interesting how it plays out,” he said.

According to political analyst and St. Joseph’s University history professor Randall Miller, some people may see Rove as part of the “old Republican party.”

“People evolve and may perceive him as somewhat past tense — or even tainted” by deficit spending and wars started by former President George W. Bush’s administration, Miller said.

Penn Democrats President and College junior Emma Ellman-Golan agreed.

“I think Karl Rove’s career is tainted by his actions in the Bush administration and by his friendship with Dick Cheney,” she wrote in an e-mail, adding that only “ultraconservatives will go to hear him speak, and we aren’t trying to target ultraconservatives this election.”

But according to Miller, Rove, despite his reputation, can be seen less as a liability and more as a “lightning rod” for attention.

“If you’re using him to get attention and support you, he’s very useful. He’s not a pariah, except among people [who are] not going to accept him anyway,” Miller said, adding that Rove can attract both those who are curious about his strategies and those who, “like a NASCAR event, go hoping to see a crash of some sort.”

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