Perry: 'Time for a little rebellion'
March 7th, 2014
04:00 PM ET
10 months ago

Perry: 'Time for a little rebellion'

National Harbor, Maryland (CNN) - Day two of the Conservative Political Action Conference – better known by its initials, CPAC – is underway at a major convention center at National Harbor, just south of the  nation's capital.

The conference is the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists, and when there's no Republican in the White House, it's a must-attend cattle call for GOP presidential hopefuls looking to pass the conference's conservative litmus test.

One of those possible presidential contenders, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said it was "time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas,” while another potential White House candidate, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, gave what sounded like a presidential campaign stump speech.

Here are the latest developments:

Perry ignites audience at CPAC

By CNN's Ashley Killough

A fired-up Gov. Rick Perry, who’s considering another presidential bid, kicked off Friday morning with a rousing speech, declaring “It’s time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas.”

The longtime Texas governor reiterated his consistent message proclaiming “red state America” is better off than blue states because of conservative governors who push limited government and entitlement reform.

He named Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as examples of leaders making progress in their states because of conservative principles.

He highlighted Walker’s effort to curb bargaining rights and reform the pension system, bringing “red state principles” to Wisconsin, a state with large swaths of Democratic voters.

Noticeably absent from his list of top governors was another governor who prides himself in bringing Republican ideals to his blue state and who’s also considering a White House run: Chris Christie. The New Jersey leader on Thursday boasted his ability to embed conservative principles into his governing and attempt to reform the pension system.

Then again, it’s no secret that Perry and Christie havent been the best of friends.

Switching from the states to Washington, Perry blasted the policies of the Obama administration, including health care, foreign policy and the rising debt.

“I am here today to say we don’t have to accept recent history, we just need to change the presidency,” he said.

The folksy governor called on Washington to return to “the few things the Constitution establishes as the federal government’s role,” such as national defense.

“And what the heck: deliver our mail; preferably on time and on Saturdays,” he said, drawing laughter and applause.

On a roll, the governor continued making demands of the government, bringing the crowd to its feet as he closed out his remarks.

“Get out of the health care business! Get out of the education business! Stop hammering industry! Let the sleeping giant of American enterprise create prosperity again,” he cheered.

Perry hoping for 'a second chance' with voters

3:30pm ET

CPAC crowd stands for Rand

By CNN's Ashley Killough

Sen. Rand Paul stepped on stage Friday at CPAC-and into his element.

The Kentucky Republican, whose libertarian fight in the Senate is often met with a tepid response, spoke before an audience Friday that treated him like a rock star.

Wearing blue jeans, a blazer and a red tie, Paul opened up his speech with what could easily be a preamble to a White House campaign.

“Imagine a time when our great country is again governed by the Constitution. Imagine a time when the White House is once again occupied by a friend of liberty,” he said. “You may think I'm talking about electing Republicans. I'm talking about electing lovers of liberty.”

Paul hit on his usual touchstones, including a need to stand up for an individual’s right to trial by jury and to stand against the National Security Agency. The senator and potential 2016 presidential contender recently filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the NSA’s phone metadata collection program.

“If you have a cell phone, you are under surveillance,” he said. “I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.”

Paul also made repeated attacks against President Barack Obama, arguing that the current White House occupant’s “timid defense of liberty” sets dangerous precedents for “lawlessness.”

“He’s got a pen, he’s got a phone, he doesn’t care what the law is,” Paul said. “A tyranny will ensue, and we must stop this President.”

Paul was playing off of Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he pledged to make 2014 a “year of action"–with or without Congress–by threatening to use his pen and phone to issue executive orders among other authorities.

Standing with Rand

To say CPAC is full of Paul supporters would be an understatement. This is his crowd-well, a part of his crowd. Paul is eager to expand his base, and expand the GOP in general.

He’s been aggressively trying to broaden the party by talking about the need to include not only libertarians, but even Democrats and minority voters that don’t traditionally fall in the GOP column.

Paul supporters could be seen at all corners of the conference this week, easily spotted by their “I Stand With Rand” stickers and signs.

Quite fittingly, the first-term senator walked out on stage Friday to the lyrics of a famous 1990's Chumbawamba song: “I get knocked down / But I get up again / You’re never going to keep me down.”

The senator certainly made that message clear as he closed out his remarks, reminding the audience of the times he’s railed against opposition, even against those in his own party.

“When the President refused to rule out droning of American citizens, I took a stand. I filibustered,” he said, talking about his near 13-hour stand-off in the Senate last year when he questioned the legal use of drones on American citizens.

The 2013 episode further catapulted him into political fame, despite already having a famous father-Ron Paul, three time presidential candidate and a longtime congressman from Texas.

“When I discovered that the NSA spied on us…I took a stand,” he said. “I sued the President.”

3:00pm ET

Santorum: GOP doesn't need a moderate

By: CNN’s Dana Davidsen

Rick Santorum said the Republican Party needs to elect an unapologetic conservative, not a moderate candidate, in 2016.

“We’re told that we have to put aside what we believe is in the best interest of the country so a Republican candidate can win,” the former senator from Pennsylvania and 2012 GOP presidential candidate said Friday at CPAC.

Winning the White House, he said, “…may be a win for the Republican candidate but it will be a devastating loss for America.

Santorum's comments stand in contrast to those of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, considered a more moderate Republican whose pragmatism left him snubbed from the conservative gathering last year.

“We don't get to govern if we don't win," Christie said addressing the conference on Thursday.

“It's not only bad when we don't get to govern, 'cause we don't get to mold and change our society. What's worse is they do.  And they're doing it to us right now. So please, let us come out here resolved to not only stand for our principles, but let's come out of this conference resolved to win elections again," Christie added.

Both Christie and Santorum are considering bids for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Their divide over the best path forward for the GOP highlights the divide within the party – a topic focused on heavily at the conference, which is the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists.

Invoking popularity and message of Pope Francis, Santorum said Republicans lost in 2012 because they failed to connect with “working class” America, adding that the party needs stop using the terms that divide American, like “middle class,” used by the “other side.”

The Republican Party should not “adopt a class-envy, leftist language that divides American among themselves,” he said.

Addressing the audience on the second day of the conservative gathering, after a series of high-profile Republicans used the platform to criticize President Barack Obama on all fronts, Santorum said the right should instead let the failings of the Democratic Party speak for itself.

“I understand why people come out on this stage and they bang away at President Obama. I know, it’s fun, I get it. It’s also easy, getting easier, I might add,” he said. “But that isn’t going to win people over who are sitting at home and hurting. They don’t feel better, we feel better.”

Santorum, a favorite among many social and fiscal conservatives, mounted a formidable primary challenge to Mitt Romney in 2012, battling the eventual Republican presidential nominee deep into the primary calendar.

Billionaire Foster Friess introduced Santorum at the conference. The conservative businessman was a major supporter of Santorum’s 2012 bid, dumping funds into the a super PAC backing the conservative candidate, which helped Santorum battle against the much better funded Romney.

Adding fuel to speculation that Santorum might launch another presidential bid, he plans to head to New Hampshire next week and has already made trips to Iowa and South Carolina. The three states kick of the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

11:30am ET

Mike Huckabee weighs in on Hillary Clinton

By CNN's Ashley Killough

Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton never faced off in the 2008 presidential general election, but they both went far in their respective party's primary. And they could find themselves on the campaign trail again in 2016, as neither have ruled out a second presidential bid.

Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas (a position Clinton’s husband once held), said his shared roots with Hillary Clinton in the southern state could give him an advantage, arguing he knows “her better than anyone else.”

As the 2016 presidential calendar gets closer, Huckabee told reporters after his CPAC speech that she’s certainly a relevant figure in politics.

“If the Democrats want to continue to say that she is by far and away the frontrunner and she is the likely nominee, (then) she is the standard bearer for Democratic messaging,” he said.

Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and another potential presidential contender, has repeatedly said former President Bill Clinton’s past as a “sexual predator” could be a liability for Democrats as they attempt to paint themselves as the pro-women party.

But Huckabee said he’s not as interested in bringing personal issues to the table.

“Bill Clinton is not going to be on the ballot in 2016 or 2014. It’s very possible that his wife will,” he said. “What she said, what she did, how she has served both as a senator and secretary of state, I think that’s all fair play. I personally don’t like to see us get into personal issues of candidates, because once you go down that road, it’s hard for that person to come back that.”

The former governor argued a bigger liability for Hillary Clinton in 2016 will be the Benghazi, Libya attack at U.S. diplomatic post in September 2012 that left four Americans killed, including the U.S. ambassador, while she was secretary of state.

“We have to have a rational explanation as to why we didn’t scramble some type of effort to go in and save and rescue them,” he said. “I think that’s problematic, and I think a lot of Americans will care about that….An attack upon an ambassador or an embassy or a consulate is really an attack upon Americans.”

In his speech Friday, Huckabee hit on recurring themes heard at the conference this week, blasting the Obama administration on a range of issues, from government overreach to weak foreign policy.

But Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, affirmed his religious views and warned of a coming doom for the country if it doesn’t reclaim its Christian foundation.

“I know there’s a God, and I know this nation would not exist had he not been the midwife of its birth,” he said. “If this nation forgets our God, then God will have every right to forget us.”

7:30am ET

Rick Perry's good advice

By CNN's Paul Steinhauser

Longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the first speaker at CPAC Friday.

Perry, who made a failed bid for the GOP nomination in 2012, is not running again this year for re-election as governor, but he's considering another bid for the White House in 2016. But if he runs again, he says he's learned from his mistakes.

Perry announced his bid in August 2011, to much fanfare, and instantly zoomed to the top of the national polls in the race for the Republican nomination. But thanks to many well publicized gaffes, it all came crashing down for Perry, who dropped out of the race in January 2012.

Thursday, when asked by CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper what lessons he learned from his 2012 campaign, Perry said "I won't have major back surgery six weeks before the announcement."

"We go through humbling events in our lives. And that one certainly was. Anyone who watched that campaign knows it was a very humbling time for me. But that's not necessarily bad. I judge people on how do you react after a failure. How do you pick yourself up and go forward. Certainly it's part of what drives me to finish up my 11 months as a governor of Texas on high notes, economically for our  state which we're doing. And it is an option for me. And it's one that sometime in 2015, I'll make the decision whether or not that is the avenue that i want to pursue," Perry said on "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

6:00am ET

Huckabee to talk to reporters

By CNN's Paul Steinhauser

How serious is Mike Huckabee when it comes to launching a second bid for the Republican presidential nomination?

We may get some clues Friday morning, when Huckabee takes questions from reporters following his speech to CPAC. A Republican source close to the former Arkansas governor told CNN that Huckabee would hold a media availability right after his address.

Huckabee ran for the White House in 2008, winning the Iowa caucuses and then capturing a bunch of southern contests, before eventually dropping out when Sen. John McCain of Arizona became the all but certain GOP nominee.

Huckabee, who hosts a weekend program on the Fox News Channel, recently told his network that "I would say maybe at this point it is 50-50. I don't know. I don't know that I can put a percentage on it," when asked about his chances of running for president again.

The former Arkansas governor said he would make a final decision after next year's midterm elections.


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • CPAC • Mike Huckabee • Rick Perry
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. New york

    another republican idiot willing to tear the country apart with separatist rhetoric of red and blue just to get elected.

    March 7, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Tom Bukowski

    This is what passes as Presidential material in the GOP? The only time they'll see the interior of the White House is when the GOP is invited.

    March 7, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. yogi

    Introducing the the new and improved Perry! Wearing glasses doesn't improve your IQ, and we are not fooled but what comes out of your mouth either. This is is symbolic for republicans in general, they have NO idea how to govern the 99%, NO ideas, NO vision, NO compassion, NO diplomacy, NO cultural literacy, NO creativity, they just don't know how. But give them credit though: They are excellent in repeating their talking points over and over again.
    Wherever the GOP is in office it is a disaster, and until the majority of the GOP's electorate realizes they are voting against their own interests, we are witnessing a reverse process of civilization.

    March 7, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. TONE

    the Communist political action committee is now heaping praise on a communist over a sitting American president.

    March 7, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. mike

    Oh no! Are the teanuts going to be even MORE childishly obstructionist? I'm not sure that's possible.

    March 7, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Trent

    Red states are better off? They have higher rates of unemployment, higher rates of obesity, higher rates of preventable deaths, higher rates of infant mortality, lower minimum wage, lower GDP per capita. No, red states are not better off.

    March 7, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Areyoua1percenter

    I hear many say, "The Republicans don't have new ideas..." and you're right they don't, but why is the more important issue. They don't because they are saying to the American people that they don't care about those issues. Ask them about starting a war, plenty of ideas. Ask them about cutting taxes, plenty of ideas. Ask them about creating jobs...wait they don't have ideas about that. Their agenda is to make the rich richer and the poor will hopefully die out so it will just be rich individuals. I give them credit, they are being true to who they are. No, they don't want entitlement programs, they don't want universal health care, they don't want to stop America from going into wars. That's what they know and do best. Serving the vast majority of Americans is not their drive and they have told you that.

    March 7, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. eric

    "We don't have to accept recent history" or evolution, or gravity. Or toasters. We don't have to accept toasters.

    March 7, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Former GOP

    @just asking
    interesting... you seem to have absolutely no problem with it the last 5 years as obama and the democrats have pitted every possible segment of our society against another part. rich against poor, men against woman, black against white, hispanic against white, etc. it is the primary tactic of the left in order for a minority to gain control.

    And what do you have to back up these allegations? Hello? Crickets chirping as usual...

    March 7, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    just asking wrote:

    Rudy NYC – "I find the divisive rhetoric extremely troubling."

    interesting... you seem to have absolutely no problem with it the last 5 years as obama and the democrats have pitted every possible segment of our society against another part.
    -------------------------–
    What divisive rhetoric are you talking about? I quoted an example. What do you have besides talking points? Nothing.

    March 7, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. polite centrist

    I'll give Romney and McCain (and Ron Paul) credit for knowing that Earth is a LOT older than 6000 years AND having the courage to say it out loud. (When asked a direct question.) Those of us in the middle Like smart candidates.

    Q: Name the most recent presidential election where we had a moderate democrat run against a moderate republican?

    A: 1976. Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford.

    March 7, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Studiodave

    So the red states are better off? Could have fooled me. Every stat has them with higher unemployment, more people on welfare, more teen births, lower school test scores. But hey, those are just facts. Who believes in those.

    March 7, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Darwin

    Texas is one of the UNHEALTHIEST STATES in the union, right down there with Mississippi and Louisiana, so Perry certainly is NOT competent to talk about healtcare. Conservatives always love to talk about reducing spending, but are unwilling to face the consequences that will arise: 1) more children dying of disease 2) homeless mothers and kids begging on the streets (a common thing 100 years ago) 3) long lines at soup kitchens 4) more crime and violence from desperate people, etc. etc. They want to go back to the "good old days" that – let me tell you – weren't so good!!

    March 7, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Greg

    Rick Perry can't even spell rebellion!

    March 7, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. just asking

    Former GOP
    -–
    @just asking
    interesting... you seem to have absolutely no problem with it the last 5 years as obama and the democrats have pitted every possible segment of our society against another part. rich against poor, men against woman, black against white, hispanic against white, etc. it is the primary tactic of the left in order for a minority to gain control.
    -–
    And what do you have to back up these allegations? Hello? Crickets chirping as usual...
    -–

    seriously??? have you been living in a cave the last 5 years? obama and democrat class warfare attacks are endless. not a day goes by when they are not demonizing somebody or some group that does not agree with their far left agenda.

    March 7, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. JAB

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as examples of leaders making progress in their states because of conservative principles.

    Conservatives don't make progress Perry. They regress.

    March 7, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. polite centrist

    Liberal plan: Spend money like drunken soldiers on a 2-day pass. Raise taxes to pay for it. (Pay as you go.)
    Conservative plan: Spend money like drunken sailors on a 2-day pass. Cut taxes and increase the deficit.

    Neither is good, but bad is much better than worse.

    March 7, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. ItsAMirage

    And we are presented.......The Republican Party. The party that loves strong ex – KGB/communist dictator Lord Putin. The party that loves to invade countries (Lord Putin acts immediately and they applaud). The party that has become totally Un-American. The party of wackos. The party of "NO!"
    Congrats Reps..........for putting such a sensational show for us to laugh at :)

    March 7, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. ShawnDH

    YEAH!

    Bring on your goofy anti-American Rebellion, dummies. I guess it's all you have left when America hates you and you can't win elections. Bring. It. On.

    March 7, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Gary

    Republicans want limited government? But they are not above the government stepping in and giving them tax breaks and bailing them out when they bring the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Oh not to mention it was the GOP recently that voted a bill to cut veteran benefits and spending.

    March 7, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Jimboob

    Does anyone REALLY think these guys are winners?

    March 7, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. just saying

    progressives, the new name for the socialists and communists in america. there is no 'progress' when that 'progress' drags us deeper and deeper into the socialist/communist sewer.

    March 7, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Areyoua1percenter

    @Former GOP

    I would disagree with you only on this point; which party pushed for the BUSH TAX CUTS FOR TOP EARNERS when they first were established? Who constantly refers to REAGANOMICS-TRICKLE DOWN? Who pushes the agenda that abortions are not a WOMAN'S RIGHT to choose but the laws (written by a lot more men than women)? Which RED state has a stand your ground law on the books established under Jeb Bush that constantly findsYOUNG AFRICAN AMERICANS (MALE AND FEMALE) on the wrong side of that law? So, you see I can't with the good brain God gave me agree with you, not because of what I vote, but because of what I see and hear everyday out of the GOP's mouth. Do the Dems play on that, absolutely to get the "minority to gain control" as you eloquently stated? YES. OOOOOO, i forgot one; in 2008 when an AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENT was voted in, who ran their midterm elections on the slogan, "TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK?" I do hear crickets chirping

    March 7, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Mark P

    If a little rebellion is needed, Rick Perry is just the little man to do it.

    March 7, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. freedom

    Grit, guts, and successful policies – Texas is thriving – and he helped get it there. Can't be denied.

    March 7, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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