The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), hosted by the American Consrvative Union (ACU), at the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington, D.C., offered events for conservatives from across the country to look forward to and a few surprises. Here is a wrap up of CPAC 2010 happenings that made news this weekend.
CPAC 2010 Day 1
Marco Rubio addresses CPAC
Florida Senatorial candidate Marco Rubio kicked off CPAC 2010 as a symbol of the future for the conservative movement within the Republican party. He gave a moving speech on American exceptionalism rounded out by a clear detailed account of his own biography.
Dick Cheney surprises CPAC attendees
The Conservative Political Action Conference was given a shot of political energy the first day, when Liz Cheney introduced her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, to the surprise of everyone at CPAC. The secret was well kept for one month prior the conference, and only a handful of people knew he would appear on day one of CPAC.
Mitt Romney surprises CPAC with Sen. Scott Brown
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts was the second surprise of day one, and David Keene, head of the ACU, did not know former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was bringing his fellow GOP’er along to do an introduction for Mr. Romney.
Doug Hoffman to announce candidacy for New York’s 23rd CD within two weeks
New York’s special election in November, to fill the seat vacated by Republican John McHugh, was a political catalyst that introduced America to conservative Doug Hoffman. Mr. hoffman fought an uphill battle against both the Democrats and the GOP. While, he eventually received Republican support, it was too late to save his campaign and beat Democrat Bill Owens, but during his visit at CPAC, Mr. Hoffman told the Washington Times he plans to announce his candidacy within two weeks for the same seat.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow unexpectedly popped by CPAC and said hello to one of her biggest critics in the exhibit hall—Newsbusters. Ms. Maddow then proceeded to lay down squarely on the “stomp out liberal media” mat adorned with faces of fellow MSNBC host Chris Matthews.
CPAC 2010 Day 2
Rush Limbaugh Introduces Ed Morrissey as “ CPAC’s 2010 Blogger of the Year”
Blogger Ed Morrissey was awarded CPAC’s 2010 blogger of the year award. To the surprise of everyone including the Hot Air blogger himself, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh awarded Mr. Morrissey (via video) the award.
College Student condemns CPAC for allowing GOPROUD as a co-sponsor
Ryan Sorba, head of the California Chapter of Young Americans for Freedom denounced CPAC to a crowd of attendees watching a panel he was on. The crowd booed him off the stage, as he criticized the conference’s inclusion of GOPROUD, a gay conservative group.
CPAC 2010 Day 3
Ron Paul wins straw poll in a land slide
In a stunning landslide, Republican Texas Congressman, Ron Paul won the annual CPAC straw poll. Of the ten thousand registered, two thousand four hundred CPAC attendees voted in the straw poll. The crowd erupted in boos, but reportedly scores of students outside the ballroom cheered Mr. Paul on.
A little more than half of those who voted were under the age of twenty-five, so Rep. Paul benefitted greatly from the CPAC youth. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who won the last three CPAC straw polls, was nine points behind Mr. Paul at twenty-two percent. Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, who addressed the CPAC audience on day two, only garnered six percent of the CPAC straw poll vote. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin , a no-show at this year’s CPAC, received only seven percent of the vote right behind Mr. Romney.
However fifty-three percent of the CPAC straw poll voters remain unsatisfied with the current pool of possible GOP candidates for 2012.
Huckabee loses CPAC straw poll…badly, blasts CPAC as ‘libertarian’ and as a ‘pay for play’ event
After the results were announced, former Arkansas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared to be displaying some sour grapes. He ripped CPAC on the Fox News Channnel for becoming too “libertarian” and for being a “pay for play” event. It should be noted that Mr. Huckabee did not attend this year’s CPAC and only received about four percent of the CPAC straw poll vote.
Glenn Beck gives rousing keynote speech blasting both Democrats and Republicans
Fox News host Glenn Beck gave the CPAC audience one last jolt and attacked both Republicans and Democrats for engaging in progressive political acts over the years. Conservative talk radio host Bill Bennett went after Mr. Beck’s remarks and disagreed with the Fox News Host regarding comments about there being no differences between Republicans and Democrats.
Andrew Bretbart vs. Max Blumenthal
Salon.com’s Max Blumenthal, known for seeking out moments to embarrass conservatives with, had a conflict at CPAC 2009 with filmmaker John Ziegler. This year at CPAC 2010 Mr. Blumenthal and online media mogul Andrew Breitbart went toe to toe over a controversial hit piece Mr. Blumenthal wrote about conservative activist James O’Keefe.