BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Anti-Wall Street protesters heckled political strategist Karl Rove during his speech at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Tuesday night and were ejected from the event, a university spokesman said on Wednesday.
None of the 15 protesters was a student at the school where Rove, a former chief adviser to President George W. Bush, was speaking at a student organized event, said Dennis O‘Shea, a spokesman for Johns Hopkins.
Baltimore protesters posted a link to video of the outburst on its Twitter account. On the video, as Rove speaks, a group of people sitting in the audience yells out “mic check!” a reference to the call-and-response style of shouting common to economic protest movement.
“Karl Rove is the architect of Occupy Iraq, architect of Occupy Afghanistan,” the protesters yelled. “The architect of tax cuts for the 1 percent. The 99 percent think it’s time to Occupy the Architect.”
Rove shouted back, “If you believe in the First Amendment, and free speech, then demonstrate it by shutting up and waiting until the Q and A session and ask me anything you want.”
Several attendees gave Rove a standing ovation for his response.
Later, the protesters chanted “We are the 99 percent” as Rove chanted back through the microphone, “No you’re not.”
About 10 of the protesters left the auditorium on their own and about five were escorted out by security, said O‘Shea.
Since October 4, a group of about 50 demonstrators have occupied a small park near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to protest against economic inequality. The park is about 4 miles from the university.
Rove’s speech was the final event in the school’s annual Milton S. Eisenhower symposium, which this year was titled “America’s Boundless Possibilities.”
Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune