COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – President Bush's chief political adviser commended Illinois Republicans on Saturday for their efforts to improve GOP voter registration in the state, which Bush lost by 12 percentage points in the 2000 election.
"We've got a lot of people we've got to identify and get to the polls," said Karl Rove (search), the keynote speaker at the Illinois GOP state convention.
The state party has raised $2 million for voter registration and identification, phone banks and get-out-the vote efforts.
"This is a party that's working hard to re-elect George W. Bush and send Jack Ryan (search) to the United States Senate," Rove said.
Rove said the president remains committed to winning the war on terror. "We didn't welcome it, we didn't want it, but it came," he said.
He did not mention the prison abuse scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison (search) or the beheading of American Nick Berg by Iraqi militants.
Rove spoke on the last day of the convention, when the GOP adopted its platform and re-elected national committeewoman Mary Jo Arndt and committeeman Bob Kjellander.
Kjellander survived a challenge from the party's more conservative wing, which criticized him for collecting $800,000 for helping an investment firm secure a lucrative spot in running the state's $10 billion pension bond sale.