Live blog of CPAC: Day 2
February 10th, 2012
09:06 AM ET
3 years ago

Live blog of CPAC: Day 2

Washington (CNN) – Conservatives gathered Friday for the second day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that promised speeches from and discussions with leading Republican lawmakers, analysts and pundits. The three day meeting in Washington will culminate with a much-watched straw poll Saturday. Check back here for updates from our reports and producers throughout the day. Watch the remarks live here and read the Live blog of CPAC: Day 1. Read more here.

9:19 p.m. ET – Speaking at an evening session of CPAC, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defended his tough stance on unions, which sparked national headlines in 2011.

Walker, who faces a recall election after state Democrats submitted a petition with more than a million signatures, said the effort was funded by big union bosses based in Washington.

"I believe we will prevail," Walker said. He said the message he endorsed will echo across the states and into Congress and asked the audience for help spreading "the truth" about what was happening is his state across the country.

6:49 p.m. ET - @KilloughCNN reports: Things are breaking up but lots of protesters now engaging in intense, in-depth conversations with CPAC attendees. Clash of two movements.

6:30 p.m. ET - @KilloughCNN reports: The hotel hosting CPAC forced media back inside as Occupy protesters showed up again. Hotel security would not let media leave, creating major panic.

Andrew Breitbart also engaged in a streaming match and was escorted away by security while CPAC attendees sang "hey hey hey goodbye."

Police brought in two horses and protesters were escorted down a hill.

6:12 p.m. ET - Newt Gingrich's campaign distributed this photo on the floor at CPAC, and it was displayed in the monitors behind Gingrich when he delivered his address.

Gingrich called the supporters in the photo his "dream team." From left to right, they are: Actor Chuck Norris, former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Godfather's Pizza executive Herman Cain, conservative radio host Michael Reagan, and Iowa state Rep. Linda Upmeyer.

5:14 p.m. ET - Breitbart said he will march behind whoever the GOP presidential candidate is because it's a choice between "America and 'Occupy,'" a reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"I don't care who our candidate is," he said.

5:07 p.m. ET - Breitbart promised to "vet him [Obama] from his college days" before the next presidential election.

"I have video," Breitbar said.

5:05 p.m. ET
- @jimacostacnn: Gingrich spox @rchammond confirms more Callista in the coming days. Says she brings out "the softer side" of Newt. #CPAC2012

5:04 p.m. ET - Commentator Andrew Breitbart, publisher of Breitbart.com, said his speech will serve as a "war cry for 2012." He said the crowd needs to "join me in this war against the institutional left. This is not your mother's Democratic Party."

4:58 p.m. ET - @jimacostacnn: The image blowing up (err of interest) at #CPAC2012 – Newt's cabinet? pic.twitter.com/Kk5kYSii

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

4:47 p.m. ET - @SarahPalinUSA: Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow at CPAC! Bristol Palin is also in DC, and she & Nancy French have a... fb.me/u7Axxm8P

4:42 p.m. ET - Gingrich said Obama will "wage war on the Catholic church" the day after his reelection.

"We cannot trust him, we know who he really is and we should make sure the country knows who he really is," Gingrich told the crowd.

4:39 p.m. ET - @HowardKurtz: After ripping "Republican establishment" as timid, Newt has resorted to his standard stump speech. Abolish death tax, Energy Dept.

4:32 p.m. ET - @PrestonCNN: @newtgingrich has his supporters in the #CPAC audience, but it's not like '11 when he marched in like a prize fighter.

4:29 p.m. ET – In addition to the repeal of Dodd-Frank, "Obamacare" and the Sarbane-Oxley Act, the repeals of which he often promises the campaign trail, he also said he would overturn "every act of religious bigotry of the Obama administration" as president.

4:27 p.m. ET - @PrestonCNN: Remember when ... in '11 @newtgingrich charged into #CPAC to "Eye of the Tiger"? Today's speech lacks last year's energy.

4:22 p.m. ET - Newt Gingrich, addressing what he called establishment criticism of him and his candidacy, said there's "good reason they're doing it, this campaign is a mortal threat to their grip."

4:21 p.m. ET
- @jimacostacnn: Baffling we don't see more Callista speeches at Gingrich events. She was very effective at degrandiosing him. #CPAC12

4:18 p.m. ET
@HowardKurtz: Newt invokes Reagan three sentences in, recalls Gipper's 1974 CPAC speech.

4:17 p.m. ET - Callista Gingrich, introducing her husband, said there are three things the audience doesn't know about her husband: He's a committed golfer, he loves books and he's very supporter of her endeavors, including her singing and French Horn playing.

He "gets in and out of more sand traps than anyone I've ever seen," she said.

4:03 p.m. ET - Number of ABC's "The View" clips played and then attacked in the main CPAC ballroom so far? 4 ... as part of the "The 'Right' View" panel discussion. Panel includes Michelle Duggar.

3:31 p.m. ET @wolfblitzercnn: Callista Gingrich will introduce her husband @NewtGingrich at #CPAC in DC. Live coverage of both in @CNNSitRoom 4PM ET

3:23 p.m. ET
- @PeterHambyCNN: Free Sarah posters! lockerz.com/s/182496885

3:22 p.m. ET
- @DanaBashCNN: @ricksantorum is closing in on raising $1 million today...3rd day in a row. Mostly from internet donations, according to hogan gidley.

3:14 p.m. ET - @KilloughCNN reports: Ahead of Newt Gingrich's address at the conference, scores of College Republicans jammed the hallway, waiting to hold a reception for the former House speaker. Some already had wine glasses in hand.

3:12 p.m. ET Santorum rolls into CPAC

3:05 p.m. ET - @KilloughCNN reports: At a Leadership Institute session on video activism, instructors passed out a how-to guide on exposing what they called "liberal hypocrisy." The packet included a 50 state map detailing which states have one-party consent vs. two-party consent recording laws.

2:55 p.m. ET - Sitting alongside his peers James Madison, Ben Franklin Thomas Paine, and Alexander Hamilton - all played by Tea Party actors - another actor playing Thomas Jefferson said the actual founders would be dismayed about the state of the country.

"We did not roll over in our graves we rolled out of our graves," the actor playing Jefferson said. "You did not listen to us."

"You created a leviathan that has walked over all of our rights," the actor playing Franklin said.

2:51 p.m. ET - Romney defends his 'severely conservative' record

2:50 p.m. ET - Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham said there have been too many distractions in the 2012 campaign, including Cain's personal life, the dispute over HPV vaccines in Texas and Gingrich's comments about moon colonies. The called on the remaining candidates to have a serious debate about important issues facing the country.

2:48 p.m. ET - @EWErickson: Who calls themselves a "severely conservative" Republican? Only Mitt Romney apparently.

2:17 p.m. ET – LaPierre said he is OK the media wants to call him "crazy" because "the media won't win this election, gun owners will."

2:11 p.m. ET - Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre said gun-owners are "all in" in the fight to defeat Obama.

"When the sun goes down on election day, Barack Obama will have America's gun owners to thank for his defeat," LaPierre said.

2:07 p.m. ET - @KilloughCNN reports: A former Newt Gingrich supporter, Michael Neary, said he now thinks the candidate is "self-destructing" and believes Mitt Romney is the most consistent conservative in the race.

"I think Romney's speech won over a lot of voters," he said. "He has a very strong conservative message and needs to stick with it."

Neary's friend, a fellow student at Washington College in Maryland, had a slightly different take on Romney's speech. Stephan Brandenburger said the Republican frontrunner seemed to be trying to persuade the audience that he was, in fact, a conservative.

"He's more of a statesman than any of the other candidates, but he was a bit distant," Brandenburger said. "He always had to justify he was conservative. Gingrich just connects better."

1:35 p.m. ET @PrestonCNN: I think it is safe to say #cpac for the past 20 mins. was like being in a butcher shop. @MittRomney delivered lots of red meat.

1:31 p.m. ET
- Ten people with duct tape over their mouths and shirts reading "if money is power poverty is silence" stood below a projection screen showing Romney's speech to an overflow crowd.

They stood in front of the screen for about two minutes. Men on suits with headsets escorted them from the room. Protesters began shouting "we are 99%."

1:18 p.m. ET - @PrestonCNN: At #cpac, @MittRomney doubles down on his biz background. Meanwhile, @ricksantorum argues US doesn't need a CEO, but a commander-in-chief.

1:25 p.m. ET
– "And let me be clear: Mine will be a pro-life presidency," Romney said continuing to emphasize his social conservatism. "I will ensure that organizations like Planned Parenthood get no federal support. And I will reverse every single Obama regulation that attacks our religious liberty and threatens innocent life."

1:15 p.m. ET - Romney offered a strong defense of what he said was his socially conservative record as governor of Massachusetts. He pointed to his action in defense of traditional marriage, abstinence education and in defense of life.

"I was a severely conservative Republican governor," he said.

His prepared remarks read: "I was a conservative governor."

1:12 p.m. ET - @AriFleischer: Romney: "If you're not a fiscal conservative in business, you go bankrupt." Good line – and credible for Romney.

1:11 p.m. ET
- Receiving his largest applause line yet, Romney said he's not ashamed of his successes in business.

"In business, if you’re not fiscally conservative, you’re bankrupt," Romney said. "I did things conservatism is designed for – I started new businesses and turned around broken ones. And I am not ashamed to say that I was very successful at it.
I know conservatism because I have lived conservatism."

1:08 p.m. ET - @HowardKurtz: Romney trotting out new attack lines at CPAC: "Barack Obama is the poster child for the arrogance of government."


1:07 p.m. ET
- @PeterHambyCNN: from Romney's remarks: "I know conservatism because I have lived conservatism."

1:03 p.m. ET - Romney said defeating Obama will be the "easy part" for the next president.

"November 6th is going to be the easiest day our next president is going to face," he said.

1:00 p.m. ET – About 350 Occupy DC protesters tried to enter the CPAC convention being held in Washington DC Friday.

As the protesters marched towards the main entrance to the Marriott Wardman Park, DC Metro Police and Marriott Security formed a cordon and ordered them to stay on public property.

They held signs that read "We are the 99 percent," "Santorum is a dirty word" and "Walmart for President." Protesters chanted what has become their regular mantra, "This is what Democracy looks like!"

12:57 p.m. ET
- @HowardKurtz: Christine O'Donnell at CPAC as a Romney surrogate, saying he was one of the first to back her ill-fated candidacy two years ago.

12:49 p.m. ET
- @KilloughCNN reports: A mascot with a message: Say no to RINOs. (Republicans in name only)

12:36 p.m. ET - @KilloughCNN reports: In an adapted version of Friday's CPAC scheduled, tailor made by Gingrich's campaign, the candidate took subtle swipes at two of his chief opponents.

The unofficial schedule refers to former two-term Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's speaking event as: "10:25 AM Congressman Rick Santorum (PA), "In Defense of Big Labor."

As for Mitt Romney: "12:55 PM – Mitt Romney, Author of Obamneycare."

12:32 p.m. ET @PrestonCNN: Just before @MittRomney addresses #cpac, 9 Ma. conservatives incl. ex-Bos. Mayor/Amb to Vatican Ray Flynn vouch for his conservative creds.

12:17 p.m. ET - @HowardKurtz: Ann Coulter: Bill Clinton saved the Constitution by repeatedly ejaculating on White House interns. Yes, she said that. Gasps in CPAC pressrm

12:14 p.m. ET @DanaBashCNN report: Santorum (via spokesperson Hogan Gidley who is with the former senator right now):

"Shifting the burden to the insurers is not the point. Taking our freedom is."

12:12 p.m. ET
- The first of about 200 people began lining up an hour early to meet and have a photo taken with one-time presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

As he posed for pictures in his trademark gold tie, Iowa Rep. Steve King breezed through the same hallway en-route to an interview, but the two did not see each other.

12:10 p.m. ET – Spotted at CPAC: The Duggars, of "19 Kids and Counting" fame ... Santorum supporters.

12:09 p.m. ET - Coulter said some right-wingers say Romney is square, but she said that's what's needed because "hip has nearly wrecked the country," a reference to Obama.

12:03 p.m. ET
- Obama will be difficult to beat in 2010 because he's an incumbent, Americans like him personally and the "non-Fox media is gaga about him," Coulter said. She added that he would probably make a nice next door neighbor unless you're Chinese and then "he'd be constantly borrowing stuff."

12:00 p.m. ET
- Conservative commentator Ann Coulter said Obama's campaign slogan of "hope" and "change" beat out his other option: "I'm going to raise the budget debt y $4 trillion and not create a single job."

11:43 a.m. ET - Santorum blasts Obama for 'coercion'

11:42 a.m. ET - Overheard at CPAC, post-Santorum speech: "I just shook rick Santorum's hand," one woman said. "How awesome. He is who he is."

11:31 a.m. ET - Sen. Jim Inhofe began his remarks by saying he probably knows Santorum better than anyone in the room, having served with him in Congress and attended a weekly prayer breakfast together.

"What he tells you is not scripted, it's from the heart," the Oklahoma senator said. "He's the real deal."

11:28 a.m. ET - @jimacostacnn: This very nice lady says she may switch to Santorum. On the other side of the hat, roses made out of tea bags. pic.twitter.com/FWF67gXy

11:23 a.m. ET - @jimacostacnn: I love this guy! #CPAC2012 pic.twitter.com/hFa9KJlc

11:18 a.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: Romney Secret Service in the house

11:10 a.m. ET - @KilloughCNN reports: Wearing track suits and colonial wigs, Steven Crowder and Chris Loesch performed a rap at a meeting for conservative bloggers.

11:06 a.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: Romney lit being handed out at #CPAC. "We Must Take A Stand" lockerz.com/s/182439646

10:55 a.m. ET - Santorum's closing argument: "I'm asking for your honor, to put your honor on the line," although he added part of their fortune would also be "very helpful."

10:50 a.m. ET @jimacostacnn: Santorum calls Romneycare "the step child" of Obamacare. Ouch ouch ouch. #cpac2012

10:48 a.m. ET - Whoever becomes the Republican nominee, Obama will have a money advantage over them in the general election, Santorum said, which is why the GOP candidate needs ideas, vision and a record of accomplishment.

"We're going to win with contrasts, we're going to win with ideas, we're going to win by making Barack Obama and his failed policies the issue in this race," he said.

10:45 a.m. ET
- @jimacostacnn: Santorum on Obamacare: "It's about government control and it's gotta stop." #cpac2012

10:44 a.m. ET - Santorum blasted the Obama administration over the contraception controversy, saying the policy is not just about religion, but about basic freedoms.

He said the move is the latest example of the left using sentimentality to "scare" Americans into supporting "radical ideas," including global warming.


10:42 a.m. ET
@PrestonCNN: A well worn phrase every 4 years: "This is the most important election in your lifetime." @ricksantorum just said it at #CPAC

10:39 a.m. ET
– Although the 2012 election will not just be about the economy, Santorum said his economic plan is "supply side economics for the working man," including the "very poor," a seemingly veiled jab at Mitt Romney's "poor" comment two weeks ago.

10:37 a.m. ET
- Santorum said conservatives and tea party activists are not wings of the Republican Party, but "are the Republican Party."

"We have learned our lesson to no longer abandon and apologize for the policies and principles that made this country great for a hollow victory in November," he said.

10:35 a.m. ET - @PrestonCNN: What a year makes. At ’10 #CPAC, @ricksantorum spoke on Sat. at 8 a.m. He took audience questions. Will he today?

10:34 a.m. ET - Santorum, the first presidential candidate to appear in the main ballroom, took the stage surrounded by his family.

"We're not the Von Trapp family, we're not going to sing," he said.

10:30 a.m. ET - Major Santorum backer and millionaire Foster Friess opened his introduction of the former Pennsylvania senator with a joke.

"A conservative a moderate and a liberal walk into a bar. And the bartender goes, "Hi Mitt," Friess, clad in a Santorum sweater vest said to tepid applause.

10:29 a.m. ET
@HowardKurtz: Why wait for speech? Santorum in hallway at CPAC, draws big throng talking about faith and opposition to abortion. What a diff 3 wins make

10:25 a.m. ET
- Explaining his support of GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, McDonnell said Romney is the "consistent conservative" in the race, a mantle the other candidates in the race have claimed.

10:22 a.m. ET - McDonnell told the crowd "Washington right now has a surplus of rhetoric and a deficit of results." The chair of the Republican Governors Association said GOP state leaders are achieving what leaders in Washington are not, including spending cuts and job creation.

10:18 a.m. ET @DLoesch: Sup. #cpac12 #bloggersredcarpet instagr.am/p/G1HR6Rr5BT/

10:15 a.m. ET
- @KilloughCNN: At an awards presentation for conservative bloggers, Erick Erickson looked out at the crowd and joked: "If Romney's campaign welded the doors shut here, they would never have problems again."

10:13 a.m. ET - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is the only major speaker to not give his address from the podium so far ... He's walking around the stage.

9:46 a.m. ET @PrestonCNN: Romney's a.m. msg: On spending and debt, Santorum was part of the problem. @RickSantorum & @MittRomney speak today at #CPAC.

9:44 a.m. ET - @KilloughCNN reports:: Following Santorum's hallway speech, Hollywood film producer Jason Jones took the floor to rally supporters of the anti-abortion movement.

"I promise within the next 10 years, we will see an end to abortion," he said to a round of applause from the roughly 50 people circled around him.

Speaking in front of the "Students for Life" banner, Jones, who produced the film "Bella," argued abortion rights posed a stronger threat to American Society than the Soviet Union ever did.

9:31 a.m. ET - The main ballroom at the conference was standing room only Friday, when three GOP White House hopefuls are scheduled to address the group. On Thursday, many of the ballroom seats were empty.

9:28 a.m. ET
- Huackabee reiterated his decision not to back a candidate in 2012: "Any one of them would be more conservative than their opponent in November."

9:27 a.m. ET - When choosing politicians to support, Huckabee said their charitable donations should be taken into account.

"If a person will rob God that person will steal you blind, don't you ever forget it," Huckabee said.

9:23 a.m. ET – Huckabee said TARP should have been named the "Congressional Relief Access Program."

9:22 a.m. ET
- @KilloughCNN reports: Rick Santorum talked about his anti-abortion views as media and CPAC attendees swarmed the candidate in the hallway. The presidential candidate appeared as a guest of "Students for Life."

9:16 a.m. ET - Huckabee, who has not endorsed a candidate during this election cycle, said he will never vote for someone who "doesn't respect the sanctity of life" because "they ultimately won't respect the liberty and sense of equality that should be extended to every American living under our Constitutional form of government."

9:13 a.m. ET @PrestonCNN: "I'm not runnig for anything, I can say any darn thing I want," Mike Huckabee just said at #CPAC12. Wonder what he wouldn't say if he was..

9:07 a.m. ET - Huckabee directed criticism at the Obama administration's decision regarding contraception. The Baptist minister said the decision is a violation of the 1st amendment, adding "we are all Catholics now."

9:04 a.m. ET - Former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee opened his remarks to the conservative crowd by thanking President Barack Obama for doing more than any White House contender to "bring this party to unity and energize this party as a result of your attack on religious liberty and attack on the personhood of every American."

8:50 a.m. ET - Santorum to concentrate on Obama at CPAC


Filed under: 2012 • CPAC 2012 • Republicans
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Willie Floyd

    Just heard a few mins. ago that Santorum doesn't think women could handle being in combat. I have an old coffee cup given to me yrs. ago that has funny sayings on it-1 says "if men could have babies, abortion would be a sacrament". That was the first thing that came to my mind. He probably just lost several thousand women voters. We had a young lady from our little town who was killed when her helicopter went down in Iraq-she was piloting it.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012/ELIZ. WARREN/SOON

    February 10, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. IntlPol101

    Good for the candidates, such positive messages at CPAC- track records discussed, well thought-out policies and values.

    February 10, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. I.

    4:42 p.m. ET – Gingrich said Obama will "wage war on the Catholic church" the day after his reelection.

    During the Kennedy/Nixon presidential campaign, it was the Republicans who were concerned that a Catholic president (Kennedy) would be in the back pocket of the pope and separation of church and state would be threatened. Now, a Republican candidate is concerned about the Catholic church?

    February 10, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Newt did it again boost the base with UPS FedEx comment

    February 10, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. v_mag

    Darn it, I can never goad the tightie righties here to express admiration for Bush. Neither will they disavow the 8 years of excessive spending, warring, and shredding of the Constitution that we all endured. They choose rather to ignore him and harken back to Reagan, as if we will forget how horrible he was.

    It's easy to understand their reluctance to take a stand on Bush, since people's memories are not short enough to successfully re-write the history of the Bush era yet. Neither can they condemn Bush, since all their candidates are virtual clones of him. Tough time to be a Repugnant, I'd say.

    February 10, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    Wow, a convention for racists, chauvinists, birthers and bigots of all kinds. Yup, that's THE place to be for a GOBP deathcult candidate.

    February 10, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. donna

    Did Romney just say he OPPOSED ABORTION IN MASSACHUSETTS?? Ugh. Does he think no on is recording his speeches or past activities?

    February 10, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. Lynda, California

    The Hatefest continues. All we hear is we hate Obama, vote for us. They have no plans, and it is sad to see that they think hate and racism will win the day in 2012. Most Americans are nicer and smarter than that and want nothing to do with the Republicans. Ann Coulter called the President of the United States Flav a Flav. Wow, first so last century and if she see's a well spoken, intellectual POTUS as a clownish rapper, just because he is mixed, she is so racist she doesn't deserve to be on anyone's mainstream stage. But the GOP is so racist now they don't know that's morally wrong and everyone around the world and in America thinks they are a pitiful joke. OBAMA '12!

    February 10, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. LouiseBelinda

    Well Newt has gone to a new low. He got his Callista doing a "Ho Down" to introduce him. It is sad when he uses anyone to get up the ladder. Sorry Newt, we know your type. Leave the sick, use the weak, and lie every time you open your mouth.

    February 10, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. LouiseBelinda

    The republicans are so in love with themselves that they are going to bore the public with lies, desperation, idiotic ideas, and spend money on having a party, called CPAC. Anyone who has ever gone to a convention knows what goes on. Maybe Newt will come back with another wife. He has that look in his eye. All his new wife can talk about is his golf game. Sad Sad. Who wants to know about Newt's book, now his magazines, that is another thing? Playboy maybe?

    February 10, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. hsc

    Romney a "Severely Conservative Governor"????? Give me a break. Does anyone out there really believe that the people of Massachusetts would have stood for that dribble? He would have been yanked out of the State House by the seam of his trousers and tarred and feathered if he pulled any crap like that. He wasn't much of governor and he wasn't governor for very long. He's soundin' a bit desperate if you ask me. Santorum's got him panicked.

    February 10, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. bobcat

    I am glad to see that Ben Franklin the father of modern socialism was in attendance for the circus.

    February 10, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. SafeJourney

    Why would CPAC invite a know racist to speak at their convention. Is this what the GOP/TP is about now?

    February 11, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Jane

    @SafeJourney: Yes, yes it is. And it's not a matter of "now"; GOP has been holding racists and white supremicists to their hearts for years. The legal, uncontested election by Americans of a black President got their knickers all in a twist. If you listen to the speeches of the candidates and their shills, you'll notice they're just not bothering to be sneaky racist – all bets are off, the dog whistles are dropped. I love the smell of GOP desperation in the morning!!

    February 11, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
1 2 3 4