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Karl Rove expected to draw big crowd at Concordia

Organizers expect a packed house on Tuesday for a speech by former White House adviser Karl Rove at Concordia College.

Alex McIntyre, president of the Campus Republicans, said the event sponsored by two student groups is attracting a lot of interest both on and off campus.

If the 720-seat venue fills up, there will be overflow rooms where people can view the speech on closed circuit television, McIntyre said.

Rove's speech is expected to last about 30 minutes and will be followed by a question and answer session.

Michael Bath, chairman of Concordia's political science department, said he expects people attending the event will come away with an appreciation for the complexity of the electoral process.

"Whether people really appreciated Rove or not, he was certainly influential," Bath said.

The Campus Republicans and the Concordia Conservatives organized the event. It's funded with private donations.

Some at Concordia have criticized the event, including a Facebook group called "Rove Doesn't Reflect My Campus' Values."

When Rove spoke at the University of Iowa in 2008, the event had a crowd of about 1,000 people and drew some protesters outside, said Sharon Benzoni, who at the time led the student committee that brought Rove to the Iowa campus.

There were some hostile exchanges between audience members and Rove, including one man who tried to put Rove under citizen's arrest, she said.

"He was open to questions, but there were occasionally heated words exchanged between Mr. Rove and the people asking questions in the audience," Benzoni said.

The event was before the November 2008 election, which added to the level of interest, she said.

The University of Iowa paid Rove $40,000 for the speech.

Concordia has not disclosed how much Rove is charging for the appearance.

Rove will be in Minot, N.D., on Wednesday to be inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame.

If you go

* What: Karl Rove will present "From Wall Street to Main Street"

* When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

* Where: Knutson Campus Center at Concordia College

* Info: The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.