The Washington Times - September 17, 2010, 06:35PM

*Updated 10/19/10

The Values Voter Summit kicked off in Washington D.C. on Friday morning and attendees, like at other conservative conferences in the past few months, were more than upbeat with the prospect of successful November elections.

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Surrounded by supporters wearing “Team Huck” Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee addressed the crowd this morning. Mr. Huckabee told the group of social conservatives, “People say this is not a year where we ought to be talking about social issues,” he said.

Like other speakers to follow, Governor Huckabee noted the importance of the Tea Party movement, saying it has caught fire because of the “language breakdown” between lawmakers on Capitol Hill and Americans.

“We know that you can’t spend what you don’t have, and you cannot borrow what you can’t afford to pay back,” he said. “We know that radical Islam is a threat not just to our livelihood but to our very next breath—we know that government shouldn’t pick the winners and losers in the marketplace.”

Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, received an enormous response from the Values Voter audience today. Mr. DeMint supported five conservative candidates for the Senate, including Republican Christine O’Donnell who upset longtime Delaware Republican Congressman Mike Castle in a GOP primary this week.

 Mr. DeMint mentioned that he had a bright future ahead of him if the candidates he is supporting wins, but if they lose, “I’ll just be in the doghouse for six more years,” he said jokingly.

The South Carolina Senator even criticized “senior Republicans in the Senate” for not being supportive of dark horse conservative candidates in GOP primaries.

“Some of our establishment friends are not really happy with me, or you,” Mr. DeMint said. 

“We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged. Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life, marriage and religious liberty, have forgotten the lessons of history,” said Congressman Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, who was also at today’s event.

Delaware Republican Senate candidate, Christine O’Donnell came out with a strong speech taking shots at everything from liberal environmental policies to Senator John Kerry’s decision to dock his yacht in Rhode Island, where he paid lower taxes as a result.

Tomorrow afternoon’s speakers will include: Newt Gingrich, Virginia Governor Bob McDonald, and David Limbaugh.