From the Daily Press:
Rove protested at Drake fundraiser
The GOP representative hosts the former presidential adviser.
BY KIMBALL PAYNE | 247-4765
July 19, 2008
VIRGNIA BEACH - Protesters appeared Friday outside a sold-out fundraiser for Rep. Thelma Drake that featured Karl Rove, calling for the arrest of the lightning-rod Republican guru.
Democrats had been calling for Drake's re-election campaign to cancel the luncheon at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in the Virginia Beach Town Center. Rove arrived early Friday afternoon, and about 40 protesters spent more than three hours picketing — even staging a mock trial, complete with robes and wigs.
"It's a shame that Thelma Drake decided it was OK to spend time with Karl Rove when she may very well be voting on him for contempt of Congress in a couple of weeks," said Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party. "I guess we know where her vote will lie."
Rove defended his decision not to answer a subpoena to testify before Congress last week about the firings of U.S. attorneys. The former top White House adviser and current Fox News political analyst said talking publicly about those matters was up to President Bush because it would break the separation between the judicial and executive branches of the government — a core tenet of the U.S. Constitution.
Rove also described Drake, whom Democrats have derided as a lock-step Bush supporter, as a "independent-minded" politician.
"It was a highly successful event. People were excited to hear Karl Rove speak," Drake said of the fundraiser, where plates went as high as $1,000. "He gave everyone good insight into (presumptive GOP presidential nominee) John McCain and the presidential race."
Drake is in a re-election campaign against first-time candidate Glenn Nye, a former Foreign Service officer. Drake's district includes Virginia Beach and parts of Hampton, Norfolk and the Eastern Shore. The race has been on the national radar for political insiders, despite that Drake has survived spirited challenges before.
Nye's campaign and national Democrats have been railing against Drake for staging a fundraiser with Rove so soon after he defied a congressional subpoena. Democrat Leopold said Rove represented the Washington-style partisan gridlock and wrangling that voters were tired of watching.
Drake's campaign shot back, questioning why Nye would accept $4,000 from Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., now in hot water because of fundraising using official letterhead.