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Karl Rove heckled, called 'war criminal' at book event

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Rove heckled at book signing
  • Karl Rove wrote "Courage and Consequences: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight"
  • Anti-war protesters heckled, accused Bush administration of lying about Iraq's threat to U.S.
  • Rove called heckler a "lunatic," told another to "get the heck out of here"
  • Former Bush chief of staff skipped the book-signing portion of event, left

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Former White House chief of staff Karl Rove was heckled and branded a "war criminal' at a book signing in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday night.

Rove, who served as senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President Bush, was at the Saban Theater to discuss his new book, "Courage and Consequences: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight," to an audience of about 100 people who paid up to $40 to hear him.

But the audience members were unable to get their copies of the book signed after Rove was shouted down and forced to leave the stage, reported CNN affiliate KCAL-TV.

The event was heated from the onset as several anti-war protesters interrupted Rove's talk to accuse him and the Bush administration of lying to Americans about the threat Iraq posed to the United States -- and thus, taking the country into war.

Rove called one heckler a "lunatic." He told another to "get the heck out of here."

At one point, Jodie Evans, the co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, rushed toward Rove waving a pair of handcuffs and saying she was there to make a citizen's arrest.

"Look what you did ... you lied to take us to war. You ruined a country. You totally ruined a country," she shouted.

As organizers tried to keep Evans at bay, another woman stood up and yelled, "The only comfort I take is that you're going to rot in hell."

Rove, who defended his administration's stance on several controversial issues in heated exchanges with other critics, said the interruptions reflected the "totalitarianism of the left."

"They don't believe in dialogue. They don't believe in courtesy. They don't believe in First Amendment rights for anyone but themselves," he said.

The audience applauded.

But as the event went on, the disruptions showed little signs of abating. Rove then skipped the book-signing portion of the event and left.