Karl Rove Was the Funniest Person at Romney's Big Park City Retreat

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The Romney campaign packed up their things for a weekend getaway in Park City, Utah, where top campaign supporters got to mingle with some of the GOP's mast famous faces, including runaway comedy star of the weekend Karl Rove. 

According to the New York Times, a group of bankers who went to Utah early on Thursday behaved like school girls after a cute boy walks by in the hall after they got to talk to Rove: 

On Thursday night, Mr. Rove held court on a hotel balcony with about a half-dozen financial executives, who peppered him with questions about Mr. Romney’s chances.

“You have to focus on Northern Virginia,” a donor advised Mr. Rove, who is not working on the Romney campaign but has helped raise tens of millions of dollars and map out strategy for a pair of political groups attacking Mr. Obama.

Mr. Rove playfully mocked a Wall Street banker for his casual wardrobe: a baseball cap, gray hooded sweatshirt and a pair of worn bluejeans.

“You’re the most underdressed banker I’ve ever met,” Mr. Rove told him.

After Mr. Rove walked away, the gaggle of men excitedly recounted the conversation, reveling in their access.

“That’s the price of admission right there,” one donor said to another. “Your six minutes with Rove.”

Rove was there to be part of a media panel with Mary Matalin on Saturday. Driving by reporters in a golf cart after the panel finished, Rove apparently said his panel was "damn good," and Politico says many attendees thought he was the funniest speaker of the weekend. His panel was closed off from reporters, but Politico shared this little story of Rove making fun of James Carville:

While poking at Democrats, Rove began to mimic the Cajun accent of Democrat strategist James Carville, while his wife Matalin was sitting on stage.

“I don’t listen to him, and if I did, I couldn’t understand him,” Matalin joked with Rove, drawing laughter from the audience, according to two people at the panel discussion.

Rove apparently had the crowd in stitches recalling the time Dick Cheney shot one of their friends while on a quail hunt in 2006. This ABC report said the crowd was howling, and Rove was swearing up a storm during his speech. 

Besides Rove, Condoleezza Rice, James Baker III, John McCain, Beth Myers, Bobby Jindal, Bob McDonnell, Paul Ryan, John McCain, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and Jeb Bush were all in attendance. The price of admission to the retreat? Only donors who gave $50,000 or raised $100,000 were welcome, and even then they had to pay their own way there. The three day retreat featured panels and discussions designed to entertain conservative donors. Rice gave a speech about foreign policy that was apparently very critical of the President and received rave reviews. Nearly 800 people attended. 

Romney, to his credit, knows how to put on a show. The retreat was hosted at hotels along the Utah mountains that played host to the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, the ones he left Bain Capitol to run. At the end of one Romney speech, Olympic skiers did backflips off ski jumps into hotel pools to entertain the party guests. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.