(CNN) – Ron Paul said Saturday he would keep up his strategy of campaigning in states holding presidential caucuses after his second-place finish in Maine's contest.
Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the caucus strategy made sense for his campaign, which has struggled to raise the amounts of money posted by his competitors or the super PACs that support them. He said he would campaign in primary states only if they allocated delegates proportionally instead of winner take all and the cost of campaigning there didn't exceed his budget.
Washington (CNN) - Protesters chanting “mic check, mic check,” a calling card of the Occupy Wall Street movement, momentarily disrupted former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as she spoke to conservative activists gathered Saturday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
Yelling, “Get out of here (expletive),” Christopher Renner, a 30 year old accountant from Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, leapt from his seat inside the main ballroom and ran in the general direction of the commotion.
Portland, Maine (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney ended what had been the worst week of his campaign with a quick one-two Saturday - winning the Maine caucuses hours after placing first in a closely watched straw poll of conservative leaders and activists.
In Maine, Romney squeaked out a tight win over Texas Rep. Ron Paul in that state's Republican presidential caucuses, taking 39% of the vote to Paul's 36%. He had gone 0-for-3 in Tuesday's contests in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, which all went to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Washington (CNN) - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the close-watched Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll on Saturday.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, took 38% of the vote in the poll. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum received 31%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was at 15% and Texas Rep. Ron Paul stood at 12%.
Washington (CNN) - Sarah Palin issued a warning to Mitt Romney Saturday, calling on the former Massachusetts governor to do a better job explaining his record to conservatives or risk dampening voter turnout in November if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.
In an interview with CNN and The New York Times before her speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Palin said she was confused by Romney’s declaration here on Friday that he was a “severely conservative Republican.”
Portland, Maine (CNN) - Following a trio of embarrassing losses, Mitt Romney did something Saturday that he has not done this election cycle: visiting caucus sites on voting day.
"I want to be your nominee. I want to beat President Obama," he told caucus-goers in Sanford. "I believe I can. I believe I'm the one person in this race who actually can beat this president. I believe it's essential that we beat this president. That we take America back and that we keep America as it's always been - the hope of the earth."
Washington (CNN) – Conservatives gathered Saturday for the third 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 culminated 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. Read the live blog of CPAC: Day 1. Read the live blog of CPAC: Day 2.
5:21 p.m. ET - Palin exits to Shania Twain's 2002 hit "She's Not Just a Pretty Face."
"She hosts a T.V. show, she rides the rodeo."
"She's on the council–she's on the board."
"She's a politician–she praises the Lord."
5:19 p.m. ET - @DanaBashCNN: Palin dig at Romney: "we need someone who can instinctively turn right..it's too late to teach that or spin...it must be there"
5:15 p.m. ET - Palin said the GOP "must stand united" behind the presidential nominee and "work together to get him over the finish line."
5:14 p.m. ET - @DanaBashCNN: Palin: competition brings out the best in our nominees. Arguing long fight not bad
5:11 p.m. ET - In his reelection effort, Obama will try to "reinvent himself," like "carhartts and steel toed boots are us."
5:07 p.m. ET - Palin said after serving time in Washington, elected officials decide the nation's capital is not a "cesspool," but rather say it is "like a hot tub and they're hoping in and join the jacuzzi."
"It's time to drain the jacuzzi ... throw the bums out with the bath water," she said.
5:03 p.m. ET - @HowardKurtz: Palin says Obama's Washington is home to permanent political class. That wasn't true under Bush?
5:02 p.m. ET - Attempting to paint Washington as "out of touch," Palin said "heck they even have a Lamborghini dealership." Although she said "there's nothing wrong with hot wheels," DC and its surrounding areas are the playgrounds for the "government rich."
4:59 p.m. ET – "This isn't some international community organizing or some social welfare network that's going on," Palin said. "We'll never apologize for America's strength or America's greatness."
4:56 p.m. ET - @DanaBashCNN: Palin litany of plays on obamaisms. God and guns, yes we can, hope and change. Red meat central
4:54 p.m. ET – Palin, describing the president's economic proposals said: "He says that he has a jobs plan to win the future. WTF, I know. And I'm the idiot. His WTF plan."
4:50 p.m. ET - @MMStewartCNN reports: Protesters started chanting "mic check, mic check." The crowd responded by changing "USA USA". A man in the audience jumped out of his seat and headed in their direction yelling "Get the hell out of here you a–holes.". Disruption was quickly calmed down and Palin told the crowd "Now see, you've just won."
4:46 p.m. ET - Sarah Palin said members of the tea party rose up over the last three years because "Americans woke up." Looking straight at the camera the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee said "our movement is one country united under God ... and President Obama, we are threw with you."
"Hope and change? Ya, you gotta hope things change," she said to chants of "U.S.A., U.S.A." ... Followed by "Sarah" chants.
4:41 p.m. ET – @DanaBashCNN: Ron Paul won cpac last 2yrs This year: 4th. But he didnt really compete. His campaign manager told me hes working for real votes (in Maine)
4:39 p.m. ET - @DanaBashCNN: Cpac Crowd now chanting Sarah!
4:36 p.m. ET - @DanaBashCNN: Who does cpac want for vp? Marco Rubio tops the list 34 percent. Chris Christie next with 9 percent. Tied with bob mcdonnell at 9 percent
4:27 p.m. ET – CPAC Presidential Straw Poll Results:
Mitt Romney: 38%
Rick Santorum: 31%
Newt Gingrich: 15%
Ron Paul: 12%
Total participants: 3,408
(CNN) – GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich got a good laugh from his audience of conservatives Friday when he ribbed the U.S. government for not using mail services, such as FedEx, to track down the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the nation.
He said the media didn't need to fact check him because he was engaging in "hyperbole."
Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced President Barack Obama's compromise over whether to require religiously affiliated institutions to provide contraception to female employees, saying the proposal raises "serious moral concerns," according to a statement posted on its website late Friday.
"Today's proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deploy held convictions," the statement said.
(CNN) - A fight over how best to improve the nation's economy emerged in the weekly presidential and Republican addresses Saturday as each side accused the other of obstructing economic progress for political gain.
President Barack Obama zeroed in on the payroll tax cut extension, which remains stuck on Capitol Hill after lawmakers failed to agree on terms of a 10-month extension earlier this week. Congress passed a two-month extension of the cut in December, but members of Congress and the president are loathe to continue extending the measure in 60-day increments.