(CNN) - 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.
It’s March. It’s madness. So it must be time for… CPAC.
The annual conference of conservative activists has long been a coveted event for conservative activists, politicians and ladder-climbers.
Potential presidential candidates go to get noticed. Aspiring politicians go to make connections. And young college Republicans go for the party. (Yes, we are generalizing. Not everyone falls into these categories. Calm down.)
Washington (CNN) – Some advice truly is timeless. Some elections are extra special. Jeb Bush is looking hard at 2016, but many close to him have doubts. If you keep saying something over and over again and you are Joe Biden, does that make it true? And can "severely conservative" be topped?
Here are five takeaways from this Sunday’s “Inside Politics:”
Washington (CNN) – American Atheists, an outspoken organization that advocates for atheists nationwide, will have a booth at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference.
The atheist institution, which is well known for its controversial billboards and media campaigns, informed CNN of its inclusion on Monday night, and a representative from CPAC confirmed that the group will have a booth at the annual national gathering of conservative leaders and activists in March. American Atheists hopes to use the forum to tap into the conservative movement and bring conservative atheists “out of the closet.”
(CNN) - Chris Christie's been under an hot media spotlight for nearly a month now, mostly for all the wrong reasons.
But the intense scrutiny by the mainstream media may actually be helping Christie, who's seriously considering a bid for the 2016 GOP nomination, with his party's conservative base, most of which has never warmed to the politically pragmatic Republican governor from New Jersey.
Washington (CNN) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will appear next month at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of grassroots activists, multiple sources tell CNN.
Christie was not invited to the meeting last year, sparking a war of words between the governor and the American Conservative Union, which organizes the conference. The ACU criticized Christie for not being conservative enough to address the gathering.
(CNN) – Karl Rove wasted no time in hitting back at Sarah Palin after she criticized him for getting involved in Republican primaries last year.
"If she can play in primaries, other people can play in primaries," he said on "Fox News Sunday."
(CNN) – Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a new favorite in conservative circles, wouldn't say Sunday where he stood on the political spectrum, but said his opinions resonate with both parties.
"I think basically what I've been talking about, if you distill it, it's not really right stuff or left stuff. It's logical stuff," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."
National Harbor, Maryland (CNN) - Under a large banner that proclaimed "America's Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives," the Oak Ridge Boys and Lee Greenwood belted out tunes such as "The Wind Beneath My Wings" and "Elvira" over back-to-back nights at the just-wrapped Conservative Political Action Conference.
Hardly Justin Bieber or Carrie Underwood.
(CNN) - Republicans may have lost the presidential election last year, but Sen. Ted Cruz declared Saturday that the conservative movement is winning the recent political fights with President Barack Obama and Democrats.
Cruz spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside of Washington, and he held the coveted final speaking slot on the conference’s third and final day.