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Report From the College Republicans Convention In New York
Aired July 25, 2003 - 20:37 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: In Washington, a new generation of Republicans has come to town. The College Republican National Committee is holding a convention and hearing from some of the party's top stars, including President Bush's No. 1 political strategist. Congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl joins with us details this evening. Jonathan, young Republicans obviously bring a lost enthusiasm. Frankly they do a lot of the work in a campaign. So, no surprise really that they're being courted hard, right?
JONATHAN KARL: No question. And these college Republicans see this as boom times for their organization. Maybe it is the trickle down effect. You have Republicans in control of the White House, Republicans in control of the Congress. They've seen their membership, their number of chapters across the country more than double in the last three years. They have 22,000 new members during that time.
And Karl Rove who got a hero's welcome here today, is really a guy with a special relationship with the college Republicans because he's a past executive director and a past chairman of this committee back in the 1970s. As a matter of fact, Lee Atwater, another college Republican hero helped front one of his campaigns. Of course, Lee Atwater went on to help the first George Bush get elected president.
Rove gave this group a pep talk, making it very clear he wants their help in next year's election.
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KARL ROVE, SR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: The allegiance of your generation is up for grabs. And we, the president, and the Republican leadership in Congress and by our actions have created a more positive environment for our party among younger voters. But to translate that into success, to make it into something that is durable and viable and powerful for our party and our country is all going to come down to you and your actions.
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KARL: And before his speech with a little 40-minute reception, Karl Rove helped this group raise $75,000 tonight. They hope to raise $2 million before next year's election to help work as the ground troops for the Republican campaign next time around -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Rove was not the only member of the gop talking to the young Republicans today, right? Another leader spoke to them as well. KARL: Yes. Another -- maybe the second most powerful man in Washington besides Rove, maybe you can put the president in there, Tom Delay was here. The majority leader in the house. He came and addressed this group and talked to them about his opinion of Democrats. An interesting speech.
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TOM DELAY, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: While everyone else got the memo that big government, blame America first, liberalism died with disco, the Howard Dean Democrats still want to party like it's 1979.
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KARL: Now, Soledad, the interesting thing about that, 1979, that's before most of these people here at this convention were actually born. But they saw two of the most powerful Republicans in Washington here today and certainly seem a little fired up as a result -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: CNN's congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl. Jonathan, thanks.
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