Fox News commentator and former Bush Senior Adviser Karl Rove spoke before a large audience Thursday at the Nixon Library, where he discussed President Obama’s job performance and Republican prospects for victory in 2012. Afterward he signed copies of his bestselling memoir, Courage and Consequence: My Life as A Conservative in the Fight.
In an exclusive interview before the East Room event, Rove – who served as executive director and subsequently chairman of the College Republicans during the Nixon years – praised the 37th President as not only a formidable and resilient campaigner, but as a great statesman who changed the course of the Cold War though his historic trip to China.

President Nixon recognized “that in order to win the Cold War, we needed to continue the strategy of containment but operate in a more nimble fashion and begin to pit the strains of Communism against each other,” explained Rove.

“It reshaped the world, and that’s a pretty powerful achievement.”

Watch Karl Rove’s whole East Room talk:

Watch Karl Rove discuss President Nixon’s legacy in an exclusive interview: