POLITICS

Courant Treats Student Who Bested Rove In Debate Dismissively

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Former Bush adviser Karl Rove spent part of his day yesterday addressing the student body of Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut. And the state's largest daily newspaper, the Hartford Courant, was on hand to capture the man's surpassing brilliance. Apparently, all sorts of serious matters were discussed, like the war in Iraq, Darfur, Katrina, and Valerie Plame. Also: how he didn't have a "girlfriend" or a "cool bike." But what was captured by the paper in the most sincere capacity they could offer, was Rove's legend. His mythology. The paper deftly captured this instance of Rove's Copperfieldian brilliance with no end of fawning:

When a freshman asked Rove about his role in the lead-up to the war in Iraq, adding that he believed Rove had deceived the nation, Rove responded by reading statements, by the president and his closest advisers, Rove said, detailing Iraq's weapons programs and the threat Saddam Hussein would pose if not stopped.

Do you think those were meant to mislead? Rove asked the student, who tried to reply but was somewhat flummoxed.

Then Rove made the big reveal: Those statements had been made by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

"Ooooooh," the audience called out, applauding.

Oh, yes! Oooooh, indeed! What a piece of work is Rove!

Well, as it turns out, the meeting wasn't all a deadly serious encounter with the master statesman. As the Courant notes, "There were lighter moments, too." Such as? Well, mainly, there was Choate student Marla Spivak, who engaged Rove in a lengthy debate over gay marriage, specifically asking for an explanation as to "how giving gay people the right to marry would endanger other people." Rove responded that gay couples could "gain the legal rights of married couples through legislation without actually getting married." Well, Spivak wasn't having it, and she proceeded to more or less mop the floor with Bush's Brain:

But wouldn't creating a separate body of legislation for gay people be creating a separate but equal system, a step back?, Spivak asked.

Rove replied with an answer about Mormons changing their views on marriage to conform with the nation's laws.

Spivak kept pressing. "You never actually answered, how does it threaten anyone?" she asked.

Rove asked, what's the compelling reason to throw out 5,000 years of understanding the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman?

What, Spivak countered, was the compelling reason for society to allow interracial relationships when they had once been outlawed.

Then Rove invoked the Declaration of Independence before Spivak interjected that its reference to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" seemed to support her claims.

Their verbal pingpong match tapered off after Rove brought up polygamy and Spivak acknowledged that she did not know enough about polygamy to answer. Rove later asked when she planned to run for political office.

So basically, a Choate student treated Rove to a straight-up OWNING, deftly piercing the man's vaunted mystique, but to the Courant, a debate over whether a large group of Americans are entitled to their Constitutional rights between a committed citizen and an important political figure is "a lighter moment." A moment that the paper equates with another student's bold refusal to wear a tie! Egads.

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