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Like Sarah Palin, Karl Rove faces book tour disruption

Antiwar protesters rush the stage at Karl Rove's Beverly Hills book signing.

By / March 30, 2010

Karl Rove's book tour started out peacefully on the "Today Show" but turned feisty in California.

Peter Kramer/AP

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Sarah Palin faced down some flying tomatoes. But for Karl Rove, it was an attempted citizen's arrest that interrupted his book signing.

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Rove was in Beverly Hills yesterday to promote his new memoir, "Courage and Consequence." But as he took the stage at Saban Theatre to address an audience of about 100, antiwar protesters rushed forward, calling him a "war criminal." Jodie Evans, the cofounder of the antiwar group Code Pink, approached Rove with handcuffs and attempted to make a citizen's arrest.

Jodie Evans shouted at Rove that he had outed a CIA agent. She also charged him with lying "to take us to war" and "totally ruining the country." CBS station KCAL-TV in Los Angeles caught the incident on film.

Rove did not stay silent. He told the audience that the incident was an example of the "totalitarianism of the left." He continued, "[T]hey don't believe in dialogue.... [T]hey don't believe in courtesy. They don't believe in First Amendment rights for anyone but themselves." He also called one protester a "lunatic" and told others to "get the heck out of here."

Eventually Rove left the stage without signing any books.

The incident does raise questions about security on political book tours. Rove did not appear to have any security detail with him. Late last year, while Sarah Palin was on the road promoting her memoir "Going Rogue," a protester in Minnesota hurled tomatoes at her. Palin was unhurt (the tomatoes hit a police officer instead) but for some it was a disturbing incident. Palin's tour attracted massive crowds and, at some of the bookstores she visited, those who waited in line to see her were required to pass through a security check.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney was in Iowa yesterday, on one leg of his 19-state book tour to promote his new book "No Apology." It seems, however, that Romney's stop at the public library in Des Moines was peaceful. He did attract a considerable crowd – about 300 audience members – but all that was tossed at him were some press insinuations that his interest in Iowa might extend beyond selling copies of his book.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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