Entries in CPAC conference (10)


Rand Paul Edges Marco Rubio in CPAC Straw Poll

United States Senate(NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.) -- Could Rand Paul run for president in 2016?

The Kentucky senator emerged as the potential 2016 presidential candidate preferred by the largest share of those who participated in a straw poll at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference. Paul commanded 25 percent of straw poll voters, while another possible GOP contender, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, was close on his heels with 23 percent, according to the results of the survey announced on Sunday.

None of the other Republicans whose names appeared on the straw poll ballot managed to break double digits. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who tried and failed to win the Republican nomination in 2012, finished third with 8 percent of the vote. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was right behind Santorum with 7 percent, followed by last year’s vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, at 6 percent.

Paul’s win comes just over a week after his attention-getting, 13-hour filibuster of CIA director John Brennan's appointment. And it was clear at the gathering this week that Paul was a crowd favorite.

“Now I was told I only get 10 measly minutes. But just in case I brought 13 hours of information,” Paul joked as he opened his remarks to the conference on Thursday, holding large binders in his hands.

Many attendees donned T-shirts and held up signs emblazoned with the slogan, “I Stand With Rand.”

“The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered. I don’t think we need to name any names here, do  we?” Paul said in his remarks. “The new GOP — the GOP that will win again — will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and personal sphere.”

Like all straw polls, this one was a non-scientific measure of preference. The CPAC poll surveyed 2,930 of the attendees at the three-day annual conference that took place outside Washington, D.C. More than half (52 percent) of those who participated were between the ages of 18 and 25.

Notably, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who spoke to CPAC on Friday night, asked that his name not be included on this year’s straw poll ballot. Twenty-three other names did appear, however, including at least two governors — Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell — who were not invited to address the gathering.

Mitt Romney won the CPAC straw poll in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Ron Paul won in 2010 and 2011. Romney won again in 2012. This year’s poll was sponsored by The Washington Times and conducted by the GOP firm, Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.

Here’s a rundown of the top 2013 CPAC straw poll finishers:

Ky. Sen. Rand Paul — 25 percent
Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio — 23 percent
Other/Write-in — 14 percent
Former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum — 8 percent
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie — 7 percent
Wis. Congressman Paul Ryan — 6 percent
Wis. Gov. Scott Walker — 5 percent
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson — 4 percent
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — 4 percent
La. Gov. Bobby Jindal — 3 percent
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — 3 percent
Undecided — 1 percent

2013 CPAC Presidential Straw Poll ballot:
N.H. Sen. Kelly Ayotte
Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Former Ind. Gov. Mitch Daniels
S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley
La. Gov. Bobby Jindal
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
N.M. Gov. Susana Martinez
Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
Ky. Sen. Rand Paul
Ind. Gov. Mike Pence
Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman
Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio
Wis. Congressman Paul Ryan
Former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum
S.C. Sen. Tim Scott
S.D. Sen. John Thune
Wis. Gov. Scott Walker

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Compares Obama to Bernie Madoff, Sips from a Big Gulp and Jokes About Her (Gun) 'Rack'

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sarah Palin served up a generous helping of conservative red meat on Saturday, comparing President Obama to white-collar criminal Bernie Madoff, mocking New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his support of a jumbo soda ban and criticizing the GOP’s post-election attempt at “putting a fresh coat of rhetorical paint on our party” rather than focusing on “restoring the trust of the American people.”

On the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington, D.C., Palin delivered one of the most well-received speeches of a weekend that has featured the likes of Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Stopping numerous times for standing ovations, she reserved particular vitriol for President Obama.

“He is considered a good politician,” the former vice presidential nominee said, referring to Obama, “which is like saying Bernie Madoff was a good salesmen. The difference being, the president is using our money.”

She exhorted him to “step away from the teleprompter and do your job.”

Dressed in a zippered black jacket, an American flag cuff, and a gold Star of David, necklace Palin lit up the room. It was a stark contrast to Romney's address on Friday when he did not even mention the president. But her barbs were not only aimed at Obama. She broadened her criticism to include the “permanent political class” who are in “permanent campaign mode.”

“Never before have our challenges been so big and our leaders so small,” Palin said.

The former Alaska governor, whose level influence within the Republican Party is a matter of some debate now that she no longer holds public office, declined to run for president last year and decided against renewing her contract as a political commentator on Fox News, said she brought a message from the “heartland of America,” which was simply this: “Things are bad out here.”

During her remarks, which lasted more than 26 minutes -- much more time that many other prominent speakers were allotted at the three-day gathering of thousands of conservative leaders and activists -- she displayed the same renegade sensibility that won her the admiration of so many Republicans when she emerged from relative obscurity (a “hockey mom from Wasilla,” as she referred to herself on Saturday) to become Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008.

“Now is the time to furlough the consultants,” she said, echoing a commonly-heard refrain at this weekend’s conference. “If we truly know what we believe we do not need professionals to tell us.”

And on Saturday she waded in to one of the country’s most intractable policy debates: gun control.

“Background checks? Yeah, I guess to learn more about a person's thinking and associations and intentions. More background checks?” she said. “Dandy idea, Mr. President -- should have started with yours.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Donald Trump Gets 2013 CPAC Speaking Slot

Andy Kropa/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Donald is back.

The real estate mogul who hosts his own reality television show, flirted with a presidential bid and seems never to be far from the headlines has been offered a speaking slot at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that will be held next week in the Washington, D.C. area.

“Donald Trump is an American patriot and success story with a massive following among small government conservatives,” American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas said in a statement on Tuesday. “I look forward to welcoming him back to the CPAC stage next week. Mr. Trump’s previous CPAC appearance was hugely popular among our attendees and we expect it will be even more popular this year.”

Trump appeared at the conference in 2011 under very different circumstances. Back then, he was considering a race for the White House.

“If I run and if I win,” he said in February of that year, “this country will be respected again. I can tell you that.”

Later that year, Trump announced he would not be a candidate, Mitt Romney eventually won the Republican nomination and the rest is history. Trump’s special counsel and chief political adviser, Michael Cohen, said that Trump “is more popular today that ever and his attendance will undoubtedly generate incredible attendance figures.”

He added, “Mr. Trump remains concerned with the economic future of this country as well as our continued unfair trade practices with foreign countries. I suspect these are a few of the topics Mr. Trump will touch upon during his speech.”

And while those who attend the gathering will hear from Trump, they won’t see other prominent Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, neither of whom were invited to the conference.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Rocks CPAC, Takes Aim at Obama

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The most resounding speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference came not from a presidential candidate, or an elected official -- but from Sarah Palin.

The screams and cheers that filled the spacious ballroom in which Palin spoke Saturday felt at times like they belonged at a Justin Bieber concert. A dozen times the conservatives at the conference leaped to their feet to applaud Palin, as she threw them line after line about beating President Obama and reclaiming “traditional values.”

“The president says small Americans, small-town Americans -- we bitterly cling to our religion and our guns,” Palin said, referring to a comment Obama made in the last election, as the audience rose and cheered. “You say, I say, we say -- keep your change. We’ll keep our God. We’ll keep our guns.”

For the first time at the three-day conference known as CPAC in Washington, protesters disrupted a speech. But the response from Palin’s loyal supporters was fierce. As protesters chanted at her from the back of the room at the Marriott, a man in the back row leaped over his chair, ran toward them and screamed, “Get the hell out of here."

The protesters were kicked out as others in the room began chanting “USA! USA!” followed quickly by “Sarah! Sarah!”

The GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee didn’t endorse a candidate for president, and she said that the drawn-out primary process can benefit the party -- as long as Republicans don’t turn on each other.

Palin, wearing a bright-red blouse, black skirt and heels, spent her time on the stage bashing both Obama and Washington. But for all the contempt she had for Obama, she borrowed liberally from his most famous statements.

Perhaps alluding to Obama’s famous red-state/blue-state speech from the 2004 Democratic convention, Palin said in one of her frequent rhyming lines that Americans aren’t “red” or “blue.” She concluded, as the conservatives rose to their feet again, “We’re red, white and blue, and President Obama, we are through with you.”

“Hope and change -- yeah, you’ve got to hope things change,” she added to laughs and more cheers.

Palin referred repeatedly to the tea party movement that has embraced her, and she demanded of the Republican establishment that conservative members of Congress be treated better.

“This November, we’re going to take back the Senate, and we’re going to fortify the House,” she said of tea party candidates. “We’ll elect more, and this time, establishment, we expect them to get leadership posts in Congress.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Conservatives Push House GOP for Deeper Cuts in Spending

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As the Conservative Political Action Committee wrapped up its annual conference in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Tea Party Republicans had reason to celebrate after forcing House Republican leaders to make deeper cuts in their budget proposals.

Earlier in the week, House Republicans announced a plan to slash $35 billion from government spending this year. But more than 80 freshmen Republicans rebuked the leaders' first offer and called for deeper cuts. House GOP leaders listened to the voice emanating from the Tea Party and tripled the proposal.

"We're going to cut more than $100 billion in discretionary spending on this year's account," Speaker John Boehner said Thursday in remarks at the CPAC Conference.

"This whole movement is about the spending. That's what ignited the whole movement, the out-of-control spending," Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer said.

The Republican proposal would fund the government for the next seven months through the end of the fiscal year, but the proposed cuts are deeper and broader than some anticipated.

The proposed cuts will sweep across multiple agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to funding for cities and states. Funds for clean drinking water will be slashed in half in addition to making steep cuts in food safety programs.

The Democratic controlled Senate and President Obama are not expected to go along with the proposals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ron Paul Wins 2011 CPAC Straw Poll

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For the second year in a row, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, emerged as the potential presidential candidate that an active group of conservative activists want to see at the top of the Republican ticket in 2012.

Paul won this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll by a healthy margin, getting 30 percent of the vote. His nearest competitor was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who won 23 percent of the vote. Most of the other potential candidates wound up in the low single digits. 

The poll should not necessarily be regarded as an accurate indicator of where the Republican electorate actually stands. Many political figures who have won the CPAC straw polls in past years did not go on to win the Republican presidential nomination.

“A year is an eternity in politics,” GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio, who conducted the straw poll, told ABC News.

Rounding out the top five were former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (6 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (6 percent) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (5 percent). Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels each received 4 percent of the vote.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who turned down an invitation to attend CPAC for the fourth year in a row, finished a distant 9th place, garnering only 3 percent of the vote.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Haley Barbour Calls Obama Policies 'Reckless,' Bashes 'Leftish Media'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is laying the groundwork for a 2012 presidential campaign, spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, and offered kind words for several of those who could be among his main rivals for the Republican presidential nomination if he -- and they -- ultimately decide to enter the race.

Barbour spoke quietly and slowly to a packed hotel ballroom, receiving a favorable reception by the audience, especially when he held up liberals and the media as bogeymen. He accused them of describing conservatives, “especially tea party activists as somehow out of the mainstream -- a bunch of unsophisticated know-nothings.”

“The leftish media says the Tea Party’s a problem for Republicans,” Barbour said, “Now, this is a case of the Left whistling past the graveyard.”

He called the policies of the Obama administration “reckless,” arguing that they have “brought America to a crossroads.”

“President Obama has tried to sound like Ronald Reagan for the last several weeks,” the governor said. “Reagan would recognize this ploy as just another play from the Democrat playbook:  Fake up the middle, then run around left end.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich: Barack Obama Is ‘No Ronald Reagan’

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered a healthy serving of political red meat to conservatives at the annual CPAC conference on Thursday, criticizing President Barack Obama on national security, energy and foreign policy issues.

"I want the elite media to know something,” Gingrich told the crowd. “I knew Ronald Reagan; Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan.”
Keen political observers will note that the jab was a reprise of former Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen’s statement during the 1988 presidential race tweaking his Republican counterpart, Dan Quayle, for comparing himself to John F. Kennedy.

During his remarks, Gingrich said the government should do away with the Environmental Protection Agency and called the policies of the Obama administration “a war on American energy.”

He also focused on what he said were the White House’s failures in the areas of national security and on the economy. He laid out seven policy suggestions for the president, including repealing the health care reform law, introducing a balanced budget and doing away with the estate tax.

“The Obama Administration is anti-jobs, anti-small business, anti-manufacturing,” Gingrich said.

He mildly taunted President Obama saying that if he accomplishes those goals he should be invited to address a future conference. “I want us to offer President

Obama the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at CPAC in 2012 if he earns it," Gingrich joked.
The former House Speaker, who received a standing ovation as he entered the conference to the song, “Eye of The Tiger" alongside his wife Callista, offered few clues about his presidential ambitions. But he told ABC News in an interview that he plans to reach a decision about whether to run by the end of February.

“2010 was the appetizer,” Gingrich said in a line of his speech meant to fire up the GOP base and put liberals on notice, “2012 is the entrée.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bachmann: Window For Repealing Health Care Reform ‘May Slam Shut’ 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., laid out the stakes for the 2012 election cycle for thousands of conservatives who gathered for the opening day of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Thursday.

“The window of opportunity for repealing Obamacare may slam shut,” Bachmann said, if Republicans fail to take back the White House two years from now.

Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite who has indicated she is considering a presidential bid, rallied the conservative troops by saying that the GOP needs to win what she called “the triple crown of 2012.”

“Holding on to the House of Representatives, winning a conservative Senate, and oh yeah, baby winning the White House,” she said to cheers. (Bachmann did not address her own potential presidential ambitions in her speech on Thursday.)

She praised CPAC attendees as “the problem solvers of America” who helped bring about the GOP’s sweeping victories last November, but she said that hard work was still ahead.

“Repealing Obamacare is the driving motivation of my life,” she said.

“Your future is personally tied into the results of the next election,” Bachmann warned the crowd. “No generation has been more selfish than the current generation that’s been running Washington, DC.”

Bachmann fit in a few jokes too, including one poking fun at herself. “Someone told me I need to find the right camera,” she said, noting the “Saturday Night Live” skit that parodied her Tea Party response to the president’s State of the Union address last month.

She also found a humorous way to poke fun at the debt the U.S. owes to China: "I think we might correctly say, Hu's your daddy.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CPAC Conference in Controversy Over Gay Conservative Group

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- By all indications, this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, which is expected to draw more than 10,000 activists to Washington, D.C. later this month, will be as popular as ever.

From speakers like Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to panels on "How Political Correctness is Harming America's Military" and "Reagan at 100: Role Model for the Next Generation," the agenda for the three-day gathering is chock full of personalities and events designed to fire up the conservative base.

But not everybody is pleased. Prominent elected officials, including Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as well as several powerful right-leaning groups such as the Family Research Council, the Heritage Foundation, Concerned Women for America, the Media Research Center and others plan to boycott this year's conference in protest of the involvement of the gay conservative group, GOProud.

GOProud, founded in 2009, bills itself as a group that advocates for a "traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy." But critics say its other mission -- supporting gay rights -- should disqualify it from co-sponsoring CPAC.

The American Principles Project, a non-profit group dedicated to promoting constitutional principles, was among the first to build momentum for a CPAC boycott. Executive director Andy Blom told ABC News that the reason his group pulled out of the conference this year was because his members regard the "sanctity of marriage as every bit as important as keeping taxes low."

Blom said, GOProud is "actively working against one of the most basic tenets of conservatism," and from his perspective, "that just isn't acceptable."

Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, disagrees. "If you look at who will be at CPAC," he said, "there are organizations across the spectrum in the conservative movement."

"Our country over the past 20 years or so, is talking about gay people in a different way," LaSalvia told ABC News, "and conservatives aren't any different than any other Americans."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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