- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For those weary of Obamacare, the State of the Union address, progressive caterwaul and ongoing talk of a Republican identity crisis: the Conservative Political Action Conference is just 36 days away. That’s right. Get through the next month, and your beloved CPAC begins March 6, staged at the glittering Gaylord National Resort, on the very banks of the Potomac River, eight miles south of the nation’s Capitol. Someone already is sounding the clarion call of Reagan-style optimism, and the can-do spirit of yore.

“At this year’s CPAC — and through our theme ‘ACU’s Golden Anniversary: Getting It Right for 50 Years’ — we will celebrate how conservatism has shaped our past and look to the future with excitement,” Daniel Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union, tells Inside the Beltway.

“There will be more than 200 thought leaders and personalities from government, politics and entertainment in what will be our best CPAC ever. This will be the year that conservatives begin pulling the nation back from the brink of Barack Obama’s disaster with a movement that inspires, unites, and discovers new solutions to our current challenges,” he continues.

The full schedule for CPAC 2014, which includes the annual Ronald Reagan Dinner, will be finalized and made public late next week. In the meantime, Mr. Schneider has some news.

“Our confirmed speakers now include Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio; Rep. Paul Ryan, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Sarah Palin has been invited to appear,” the cordial Mr. Schneider says, advising one and all to visit cpac.org for more information.

THE HILLARY LAWMAKERS SURFACE

There’s much talk about early bird political action committees who are already fundraising for a potential Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign for president. Such news takes a back seat to a close head count on Capitol Hill by The Hill newspaper, revealing how many Democratic lawmakers have stepped forward to endorse Mrs. Clinton, though she has yet to declare her intentions.

The numbers so far: 18 senators, 16 of whom are female — and 39 members of the House, a roster that also includes 13 women.

“The level of support is astounding, especially two-and-a-half years before the Democratic Party hosts its nominating convention. The total represents more than 20 percent of the 253 Democrats in the House and Senate. It is also more than half of the lawmaker endorsements Clinton received in 2008,” point out Jasmine Sachar and Bob Cusack, who made the count.

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland is among the Clinton fans, despite the fact that Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat in his own state, might also run.

FIRE UP AIR FORCE ONE

What? It’s already fundraising time, and so soon after the State of the Union address? But yes. First lady Michelle Obama departs the nation’s capital on Wednesday for a trio of West Coast fundraisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco to benefit the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Among the events: a swell “Woman’s Lunch” at a svelte ‘Frisco hotel, hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Among the prices: $32,400 per couple, or $10,000 for a single ticket, yes for lunch.

Mrs. Obama will also give an interview to the syndicated talk radio program “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” elaborating on “how to stay fit by eating healthy, getting active and signing up for health care,” according to the White House. It airs nationally on Thursday.

THE POLARIZED VORTEX

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