- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
CPAC 2013: Add Cruz, Walker to Paul, Rubio for high ‘wow’ factor
A governor and three U.S. senators emerged as probable first-tier candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination by the windup of the 40th anniversary Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz grabbed and held the audience of more than 3,000 conservative activists, registering more standing ovations during, and positive crowd buzz after, their speeches than did any of the other potential GOP presidential nomination aspirants.
Mr. Walker talked about how he survived a recall election forced by public employees unions that had resisted his successful efforts to make public employees cover part of their health insurance premiums. He also angered them by denying union demands for salary and pension benefits increases.
He said by risking his governorship to solve his state’s budget crisis, he showed that he cared about taxpayers struggling with a bad economy and the unfairness of making those same taxpayers shell out more for union benefits when public employees were earning more in salaries than private-sector workers.
Mr. Rubio distinguished himself as the only potential presidential nomination candidate at CPAC to address foreign policy. He addressed the defense of America’s superpower status against China’s cyberspace attacks and desire to surpass the United States economically and militarily.
He had the advantage of hearing every other major CPAC speaker, including Mitt Romney, praise his having led a filibuster to successfully force the Obama administration to acknowledge the primacy of the Constitution and due process.
Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio enhanced their standing among Republicans by citing their Cuban-American heritage, but Mr. Cruz showed he had the best unofficial presidential nomination organization. At the end of his rousing speech, he asked the audience to text him to spread his “growth and opportunity” message. In doing so, he captured more than 1,000 cellphone numbers for his potential nomination campaign.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s CPAC address during the annual Ronald Reagan banquet drew shouted rebukes from former Arizona Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who from his table near the stage repeatedly taunted Mr. Bush during his speech, asking when he was going to defend constitutional principles.
Mr. Hayworth and others at the dinner were objecting to Mr. Bush’s statements that he would consider raising taxes to help balance the budget and he would reach out to Hispanics voters with comprehensive immigration reform, which some activists interpret as amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The CPAC crowd had high expectations for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose parents were born in Punjab, India. Considered a likely 2016 contender, he executed a laugh-sustaining stand-up comedy routine, much like the president’s annual performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
But when he moved to policy talk, audience attention began to wander, with some saying it reminded them of Mr. Jindal’s lackluster 2009 response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech.
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate last year, lit few fires with his speech. He was attacked in a later CPAC address by Media Research Center President Brent Bozell, who derided him for putting forward a weak plan that wouldn’t achieve a balanced budget for 10 years.
Based on the loud, sustained cheers for his comments, Mr. Bozell’s criticism was shared by other activists at CPAC.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
- DeLay: GOP failing to fight criminalization of politics
- Question for CPAC-goers: Is Congress relevant anymore?
- Rand Paul looking to hedge bet in 2016 election
- CPAC conservatives frustrated by GOP's compromises, lack of leadership
- Big money haul keeps Chris Christie's role at Republican Governors Association safe
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CURL: The modern GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Six Senate seats could hinge on Keystone pipeline
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again