Karl Rove speaks to the GOP faithful in Sacramento, Mar. 2. PHOTO/Shane Bond

CAGOP CONVENTION | Karl Rove rallied the downtrodden Republican Party in California Saturday, telling them to stay true to their core values and reach out to minorities. Rove’s encouragement, however, was blunt. “My message is this: get off your ass.”

Rove came to the party’s annual convention angering some far-right conservative groups by a recent change of heart in favor of backing more “electable” candidates. None of those dissenting voices were heard at Saturday’s luncheon. In fact, Rove received a standing ovation from a large portion of the crowd.

In the 30-minute speech Rove said state Republicans need to embrace diversity. “We need diversity that is American,” he said. If Republicans follow their universal truths of smaller deficits and limited government, Rove said, they can succeed. “We’ve been comfortable talking to each other,” he said. “But, we have a broader obligation than that.”

Later, Rove told delegates President Obama’s intention is to break the party’s will. On the sequester talks, he said the commotion over deep cuts in the federal budgets hide claims the government will spend $18 trillion more than a year ago.

On California, where Republicans hold no statewide offices and recently faced a Democratic supermajority in the Legislature, Rove said fixing the party’s image will not be easy. However, doing so will also lead the national party, similarly adrift following Obama’s election last November.

“You have a big task,” said Rove. “I don’t begrudge you. It’s going to be tough. There are going to be moments when you, ‘why am I spending so much time on this difficult of a job?’”The future of your state depends upon it and this state is so big that the future of the country depends upon it. “