Entries in CPAC (20)


Ted Cruz: ‘Count Me a Proud Wacko Bird’

Douglas Graham/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he’s willing to embrace the “wacko bird” label given to him by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., if it means he is defending the Constitution.

“If standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then count me a proud wacko bird,” Cruz said as he delivered the keynote address Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md.

In an interview with the Huffington Post earlier this month, McCain singled out Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., as “wacko birds” when asked whether he felt they are a “positive force” within the Republican Party.

“They were elected, nobody believes that there was a corrupt election, anything else,” McCain said. “But I also think that when, you know, it’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.

“I think it can be harmful if there is a belief among the American people that those people are reflective of the views of the majority of Republicans. They’re not,” he said.  McCain apologized for the remark Friday in an interview with Fox News.

As he closed out the three-day conservative convention, Cruz took pride in joining Paul’s 13-hour filibuster over the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, and without naming names, he criticized the senators who refrained from participating in the filibuster.

“There were more than a few senators who were not there with us that have had their manhood cheapened as a result,” Cruz said.

The filibuster marked Cruz’s first time speaking on the floor of the Senate, a moment to which Cruz said, “to my grave, I will owe Rand Paul a debt of gratitude.”

Even though the Republican Party experienced a loss in the presidential election last November, Cruz argued that it’s the conservative movement that’s heading towards success.

“For the last three weeks, conservatives have been winning, and we’re winning because of you,” Cruz said.

Cruz, who is in his first term as a senator, tied for seventh place in the CPAC straw poll with Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, at 4 percent. Paul narrowly won the straw poll. Cruz’s keynote address occurred after straw poll balloting concluded.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio Discusses Science, 'Mutual Respect' at CPAC

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.) -- Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday challenged some of the stereotypes affixed to the Republican Party on two hot-button topics, abortion and gay marriage, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that his positions on the issues make him neither a “chauvinist” nor a “bigot.”

“In order to work together with people you disagree with, there has to be mutual respect,” the Florida Republican told the annual, three-day conference in National Harbor, Md. “That means I respect people that disagree with me on certain things, but they have to respect me, too.

“Just because I believe that states should have the rights to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot. Just because we believe that life, all life, all human life is worthy of protection of every stage in its development does not make you a chauvinist.”

Rubio, 41, continued to argue that science was on his side when it comes to abortion, saying “the people who are actually close-minded in American politics are the people that love to preach about the certainty of science when regards to our climate but ignore the absolute fact that science is proven that life begins at conception.”

Rubio famously declared last year that he’s “not a scientist, man,” after he was asked a question about the age of the Earth.

“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians,” Rubio told GQ last year.

He went on to say, “I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

Rubio later clarified his answer and cited exactly how old scientists say the Earth is.

“Science says it’s about four and a half billion years old, and my faith teaches that that’s not inconsistent,” Rubio told Politico. “The answer I gave was actually trying to make the same point the president made a few years ago, and that is there is no scientific debate on the age of the Earth.

“I still believe God did it,” Rubio added. “And that’s how I’ve been able to reconcile that and I think it’s consistent with the teachings of my church. But other people have a deeper conflict and I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever we believe.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Chris Christie ‘Not Being Invited’ to CPAC

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- There are almost 40 featured speakers at next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, but one of the most popular Republican governors in the country has yet to receive an invite.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is “not being invited” to CPAC, according to a source close to the event who was not authorized to speak publicly. The source would not answer why Christie, who is widely thought to be interested in the 2016 presidential race, would not be invited to the confab of conservative activists.

The tough-talking governor hasn’t been afraid to take on his own party in the past. Last month he blasted the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, specifically Speaker John Boehner, for adjourning without approving a $60 billion relief package for the victims of superstorm Sandy (the money has since been approved).

Christie also angered some members of Mitt Romney's team, and other Republicans, when just one week before the presidential election he praised President Obama’s handling of the storm, which slammed into his state on Oct. 29.

Officially, CPAC says the schedule is still being finalized.

“We still have three weeks to CPAC and have several more announcements to go,” Communications Director Laura Keehner Rigas told ABC News. “I encourage everyone to hold tight.”

The conservative confab is being held outside of Washington, D.C., next month and will feature Romney and almost 40 other featured speakers, many of them also thought to be interested in 2016, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan.

Other big names include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former presidential candidates Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, among many others.

What is unclear is whether the “not inviting” will stand, now that the news has broken. Christie is incredibly popular in his home state.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich on Obama: ‘We Know Who He Really Is’

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Newt Gingrich took the stage at CPAC Friday afternoon to a backdrop of two giant pictures of him standing in front of some of his more prominent supporters.

The photo, in a bluish-grayscale, was of Gingrich at the head of a flying-V formation staring into the camera. Behind him were eight people, including Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Fred Thompson -- and Chuck Norris.

That was probably appropriate. Gingrich’s speech was littered with quick one-two punches and roundhouse kicks aimed squarely at President Obama.

The conservative crowd in Washington cheered as Gingrich promised to “abolish White House czars.” They cheered again and again as he vowed to approve the Keystone pipeline, move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, ban money for abortions overseas and repeal “40 percent” of everything Obama has done by the time the president lands in Chicago on the day Gingrich is inaugurated as president.

“Eliminate capital gains,” he said to roars. Eliminate the EPA, and change the FDA, he said to applause. “Abolish the death tax,” and bring gas down to $2 a gallon, he continued as the audience played along.

Gingrich saved his big guns for the end.

“We want to ensure that no president ever again bows to a Saudi king,” he commanded.

If Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hasn’t left office by the time Gingrich takes over, “I will ask Congress to pass a law ending his term,” he said. That one actually got some laughs.

Finally, Gingrich promised, Obama will wage war on the Catholic church if he’s reelected. “We cannot trust him,” Gingrich said. “We know who he really is.”

Watch Gingrich's full speech:

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Pitches to the Right, and a Skeptic Listens

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Howard Moye sat in the last row with his arms crossed watching Mitt Romney tell conservatives why they should nominate him to challenge President Obama.

Romney spouted off line after line aimed at the crowd attending the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.  He said that “we conservatives … cling to our Constitution,” that “if you’re not fiscally conservative, you’re bankrupt,” and that “my presidency will be a pro-life presidency.”

After each pitch, the audience in the voluminous ballroom at the Marriott in northwest Washington applauded, at times standing and cheering.

Moye just sat there, staring.

Romney has struggled throughout the GOP primary to sway conservatives, who have bounced around from candidate to candidate as they searched for an alternative. Newt Gingrich got a boost in popularity. So did Rick Santorum. Even Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry enjoyed moments in which they were the conservative voters’ hero.

That voter is Moye, a longtime farmer from Greenville, N.C., who now runs a real estate business. He’s always voted for Republican candidates, he thinks the nation needs to be saved, and he’s not sure the president’s birth certificate is real.

At last year’s CPAC show, Moye was blown away by Bachmann. “That lady could be president,” he told his wife at the time. He donated $500 to her presidential campaign and supported her throughout the year, but after Bachmann dropped out in January. Moye then turned to Gingrich.

The South Carolina primary was good for Gingrich and Moye had hope. But the candidate lost his momentum in Florida and Moye had doubts. Now he thinks Santorum might be the best bet to be the party’s conservative choice.

There’s still hope for Romney. Moye is the type of voter that Romney needs to win over if he wants to wrap up the nomination sooner rather than later and unite the party behind him before the general election kicks into high gear.

“He said the right things today,” Moye said after Romney’s CPAC speech. “He needs to be talking plain.”

Moye is skeptical of Romney’s background as a “mega-millionaire” who looks like the “stereotype of what the president wants to run against.” He thinks that Romney is “trying to buy the presidency.” He says Romney isn’t being honest when he talks about his plan to fix entitlement programs, and he’s wary of his promises on taxes.

But after hearing Romney Friday, Moye said that if he were halfway toward supporting Romney, he’s two-thirds of the way there now.

Watching the candidate’s speech, Moye grunted and nodded as Romney said that “Barack Obama is the poster child for the arrogance of government.” He clapped three times when Romney said public workers’ benefits should be cut. And when the audience cheered as Romney said he’d end ObamaCare, Moye noted, “That’s what everybody wants.”

Conservative voters might look to Romney’s speech not necessarily as a reason to vote for him in the primary, but more of a reassurance that they could settle for him once he’s the official GOP nominee.

“This was good today,” Moye said.

Watch Romney’s full speech:

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CPAC: DeMint Thinks GOP Race Could Go to Convention; Perry May Run Again

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- What did we learn walking around CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual Woodstock for the right, held in Washington, D.C.?

For starters, don’t expect the GOP presidential race to end anytime soon.

Sen. Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican and Tea Party leader, told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl he wouldn’t be surprised to see things go all the way to the convention in August in Tampa, Fla. Karl asked if he thought there was room for another candidate to enter the race at this point.

“I don’t know about another candidate,” Demint said. “But we may go to the convention and decide between these candidates. It’d be hard to bring in an unvetted candidate in the middle of a convention cause we see what this process is doing to our candidates. They’re all getting better. They’re all finding their real, I think value system. And it’s forcing them to be much more tenacious and passionate about what they believe. So anything can happen, I’ve stopped making predictions cause I’ve been wrong every time I’ve made a prediction.”

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All the way to the convention? Really? Some big name Republicans don’t want to call anyone the front-runner yet.

Take Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was at the conference Thursday after ending his own race for president earlier this year. Perry endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich when he dropped out of the race. But Gingrich has not won a primary or caucus since his victory in South Carolina.

“I think this race is completely open,” Perry said. “I don’t think anyone has a lock on it at this particular point in time.”

Perry is back to his day job as governor of Texas, but he may not be done with presidential politics.

Karl asked him what he’d do differently, and he said he’d have gotten into the race earlier to hone his debating skills.

“Well obviously I think if I said we would have a little more intensive debate practice,” he said. “And it’s like anything in life, it’s, you know, the good news is this isn’t the only chance you may get in life for this.”

So he’d run again?

“Absolutely,” he said, later adding, “That’s what life better be about. Learn from your mistakes and you know how do you become better whether you’re a road builder or whether you’re a professional pilot or a teacher or whether you’re a doctor you want to be at the top of your game every time, but can you learn something new? You better be. Life would be pretty dull if you’re as good as you’re ever gonna get. Even a newscaster.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


At CPAC, Humor Prevails Among Former Presidential Candidates

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., jokes were a common thread between the speeches of former GOP presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry.

Bachmann and Perry each received warm receptions at the conference, being held Thursday, Friday and Saturday in downtown D.C. Their speeches were short and addressed different policies of the Obama administration that they believe to be failures.

Perry’s speech focused on domestic issues, drawing heavily upon his identity as a “10th Amendment conservative,” a reference to the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which stipulates states have powers not specifically allocated to the federal government. Bachmann focused her speech on the Obama administration’s foreign policy, specifically its policy regarding Israel.

The two former presidential candidates overlapped in their respective introductions. Both Bachmann and Perry started off their remarks with jokes about their failed bids.

“Running for president of the United States is really one series of humiliations after another,” Bachmann told the crowd.

The Minnesota congresswoman went on to lay out the three lessons she’d learned on the trail -- where John Wayne was born, when Elvis Presley was born and to never forget the three things you’ve learned.

Rick Perry also embraced the idea that one must be able to joke about himself in his remarks.

“As many of you know, I had certain ideas about putting an end to this president’s failed administration, but the people of Iowa and New Hampshire had a different idea,” Perry said. "But back at Texas A&M, my alma mater, we had a very unique way of addressing defeat: Aggies never lose, we just run out of time. So you can say that my presidential campaign ran out of time.”

Neither candidate made reference to the current GOP field. Rick Perry has endorsed Newt Gingrich, but he did not mention the former House speaker while speaking to audience. Michele Bachmann has not endorsed a current candidate yet.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin to Make Keynote Speech at CPAC

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sarah Palin will be the keynote speaker at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 11, after four years of consistently rejecting the top spot at the high-profile conservative conference in Washington, D.C.

“Few national conservative leaders in America today energize and inspire our grassroots activists like Governor Sarah Palin," American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas said in a statement. "Her strong record of leadership, championing of our shared principles and magnetic personality have made Sarah Palin a hero to millions of conservatives across the country. As we ready for the critical 2012 election, I’m honored to welcome Governor Palin to the Conservative Political Action Conference for the first-time ever.”

GOP candidates Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will attend this year’s convention, as will bestselling conservative author Ann Coulter, and Sens. Jim DeMint and Marco Rubio, among others.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Trump to Keynote Major GOP Event In Iowa

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Let the 2012 flirting continue. The Iowa Republican Party announced Wednesday that Donald Trump will headline the party’s annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday, June 10 in Des Moines. It will be Trump’s first visit to Iowa this caucus season.

“Mr. Trump’s speech at CPAC earlier this year caught the attention of many political observers and as the ‘First in the Nation’ caucus state, we extended an invite to allow Mr. Trump to introduce himself to Iowa Republicans,” Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn said in a statement. “We are excited to have Mr. Trump share his vision for a better America through his experiences as an individual who has made a career as an entrepreneur and job creator.” 

This means that Trump will be making stops in both Iowa and New Hampshire in June -- the same month he said he'll make a decision on whether to run.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mitch Daniels Slams Obama, Warns Of ‘New Red Menace' At CPAC

Photo Courtesy - Office of Gov. Mitch Daniels(WASHINGTON) -- For Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels it appeared that there were not enough metaphors in the English language to describe the failures of President Obama and his administration.

In a keynote speech that Daniels, a potential 2012 Republican White House hopeful, delivered to a room full of conservative leaders and activists in Washington, he warned of a “financial Niagara,” complained of an “orgy of regulation,” and lamented the arrival of a “new Red menace” in the form of mounting national debt.

During the 30-minute address that closed the second day of the Conservative Political Action Convention, Daniels served up a speech that was heavy on substance and even, at times, critical of what he called the “venomous, petty, often ad hominem political discourse of the day.”

“Opponents will expect us to be defensive, but they have it backwards,” Daniels said.  “When they call the slightest spending reductions ‘painful,’ we will say, ‘if government spending prevents pain, why are we suffering so much of it?’  And ‘if you want to experience real pain, just stay on the track we are on.’”

Daniels pulled no punches when it came to his criticism of the Obama administration.

“The health care travesty now on the books will engulf private markets and produce a single-payer system or its equivalent, and it won't take long to happen,” he predicted.

Daniels accused Obama of presiding over a “two-year orgy of regulation,” pointing to the president’s recent Executive Order stepping up oversight of federal regulations.

He equated the nation’s rising national debt with the historical threat of Communism: “It is the new Red Menace, this time consisting of ink. We can debate its origins endlessly and search for villains on ideological grounds, but the reality is pure arithmetic.”

Daniels offered few clues about his own presidential ambitions, but the crowd responded favorably to his message.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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