(CNN) – A super PAC supporting Democratic Senate candidates say they're going up with a TV ad Friday comparing Republican Rep. Connie Mack of Florida to Charlie Sheen, citing the congressman's past run-ins with the law.
"Republicans call him the Charlie Sheen on Florida politics," a narrator in the ad says. "Congressman Connie Mack IV. His record includes bar brawls, road rage, and resisting arrest. A past of debts and liens. An overdrawn checking account while in Congress. A loan from dad to pay his taxes. His yacht club sued him. The condo association took him to court. Now he's running for Senate. But Florida families can't afford Connie Mack's party tab."
Washington (CNN) - It's "lull week" in the Republican presidential campaign, an 11-day stretch with no primaries or caucuses and no debates, but lots of questions about who will eventually win the nomination to face President Barack Obama in November.
The topsy-turvy race has seen leaders come and go, with presumptive frontrunner Mitt Romney receiving steady but so far somewhat stagnant support in his second bid for the GOP nod.
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.
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.”
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
Washington (CNN) - Newt Gingrich sought to hammer home the idea that he's the anti-establishment candidate Friday, rehashing familiar themes from his stump speeches before his audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
"For the Republican establishment, managing the decay is preferable to changing the trajectory because changing the trajectory requires real fights and a real willingness to roll up sleeves and actually take on the left," Gingrich said.
Washington (CNN) - Rick Santorum made one thing clear at the Conservative Political Action Conference: he's not running for vice president.
The insurgent GOP contender and his entourage stormed into CPAC ready to rumble with Mitt Romney. Santorum's haymaker of the day was aimed at the former Massachusetts governor's health care plan.
Washington (CNN) - As he continues to fend of questions about his core convictions, Mitt Romney aggressively defended his conservative credentials Friday at a major gathering of right-leaning activists in Washington.
Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, Romney described his record in Massachusetts in almost startling terms, calling himself "a severely conservative Republican governor" who stood firmly with social conservatives in the fight against same-sex marriage and abortion.
Washington (CNN) - Rick Santorum trained his fire on President Barack Obama Friday during his much-anticipated speech at CPAC, hitting the president over the recent controversy surrounding health insurance coverage for contraceptives.
"They believe rights come from government," he said, with his family on stage. "The most important one they've been able to shove down the throats of the American public is the right to health care."