"We meet behind enemy lines! And we will prevail!" said Karl Rove.
They joked about meeting in San Francisco, but also bragged about it. The Heritage Foundation said the dinner of 500 sold out in record time. Still, security guards stood at every door and on both sides of the stage at San Francisco's Ritz Carlton as Rove delivered his hour long speech.
It was only scheduled to last 15 minutes, but he had a lot to say about President Obama. His complaints started with the deficit.
"He didn't tell us when he ran he would offer up a budget plan that calls for doubling the size of the national debt and nearly tripling it in the next 10," said Rove.
In the second half of the speech, Rove attacked President Obama's proposal for health care reform.
"The government doesn't have the efficiencies the marketplace has and if we turn it all over to the government like this plan calls for, we are going to damage the innovation that has made American health care the envy of the world," said Rove.
But his speech wasn't all about attacking the president. Rove acknowledged his party needs to reexamine itself and decide what it is for, instead of always talking about what it is against. He also has something positive to say about President Obama.
"When he's right, we ought to support him with our words and our deeds. He's been right on Iraq. He's not caved into the left of his party and precipitously withdrawn. He's given the military what they needed and wanted," said Rove.
Finally, when the floor opened up for questions, he was asked about California's race for governor. Rove wondered why anyone would want the job. "It is going to require somebody that's outside the box and is capable of exhibiting an inner toughness on them because your state has huge problems."
ABC7 had hoped to interview Rove one-on-one so his statements wouldn't go unquestioned, but the night ran late. ABC7 did check in with a local Democratic consultant about the visit who said this is the last place he'd expect to see Rove and expects he'd be headed back to a red state as soon as he can.
ABC7's political consultant said it was quite hypocritical of Rove to criticize the deficit when he thinks the Bush administration is largely to blame for the current deficit.