Karl Rove Gets Twittered, IMs Opponents, and Talks Online Politics

Yahoo summit brings top political talent—including “Bush’s brain”—to discuss the future of politics in the digital age. Rove later revealed what ad his party would have run if Howard Dean had become the Democrat’s presidential nominee in 2004..

By: Benjamin Coffey Clark

Karl Rove took the stage Thursday afternoon at DC’s Willard InterContinental hotel to discuss the pros and cons of the Internet at an invitation-only event held by Yahoo to educate Washington political types about the value of online political activity. One of Rove’s main points—that the Internet creates a dangerous society of spectacle where every political moment is recorded for instant consumption and critique—was realized as audience members live-blogged, Twittered (a form of new media similar to blogging but shorter in form), and took photos for instant proliferation throughout the Web.

During a cocktail reception after the talk, Rove instant-messaged a liberal activist he had criticized during his speech, dished on the 2004 campaign, and learned that live blogging of the event had already attracted attention from the Republican National Committee.

If the point of the Yahoo Summit—where former senator Max Cleland also spoke—was to educate the political elite about the nature of politics online, some in the audience clearly already had their PhDs. Perhaps some of the key players in Mark Warner’s and Howard Dean’s former campaigns didn’t need to hear Yahoo employees advise them to make sure “your candidate is in the mouth of citizen 2.0.” Citizen 2.0 apparently refers to those interested in online politics. Others in the audience who represented various associations struggling to figure out the Internet seemed to find the presentation helpful.

However, the real draw was a chance to see “Bush’s brain”—as Rove has been dubbed—expound on what happens when the Internet meets politics. Here’s what the political consultant who helped win two presidential elections and worked on several more—adopting cutting-edge technologies along the way—had to say.

On the nature of politics online:

On the opposing party:

Other interesting tidbits:

Check out TechPresident’s writeup of the event (which got the attention of the RNC) here.

View a photo from an iPhone of attendee Kyle Stoneman below.

Karl Rove with Clay Johnson, a Democratic Internet consultant.