(CNN) – The next wave of Republican leaders can be found in the nation's statehouses, last year's GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney told a receptive crowd of conservative activists Friday.
In his first major speech since last November's defeat, Romney cited governors in traditionally Democratic states as examples of effective conservative leadership who could make inroads nationwide. Romney himself served as governor of Massachusetts before making bids for president in 2008 and 2012.
Washington (CNN) – Proposed universal background checks of firearms purchases won't stop gun violence, but would serve agendas of people "bent on destroying the Second Amendment," a top National Rifle Association official told a conservative political conference on Friday.
Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the influential NRA, received repeated cheers and prolonged applause at the Conservative Political Action Conference when he took on proposals to toughen gun laws in the aftermath of the Connecticut school massacre that killed 20 first graders last December.
(CNN) – Former Sen. Rick Santorum delivered a solemn but forceful rallying cry when speaking about the death of a close family member Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
With tears in his eyes, the former presidential candidate talked emotionally about his nephew who passed away Thursday in Pittsburgh from what Santorum described as "a horribly painful disease that almost overnight began ravaging his body."
National Harbor, Maryland (CNN) – It's his first major speech since losing last year's presidential election.
So what will Mitt Romney say when he addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday afternoon?
(CNN) - Three days after he unveiled the GOP budget, Rep. Paul Ryan stayed focused on the country's fiscal problems during his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference and took a dig at the Democrats' own budget proposal in the Senate.
"You know, this has been a really big week. We got white smoke from the Vatican and we got a budget from the Senate," he said to applause. "But when you read it, you find that the Vatican's not the only place blowing smoke this week."
(CNN) – Real estate titan Donald Trump was all over the map Friday in his speech to conservatives, criticizing a range of Republicans from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to former GOP nominee Mitt Romney–and arguing that the country "is in a total mess."
The billionaire also cooked up a plate of his own solutions for fixing the economy while speaking to the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Among his advice: Immigration reform could be a "suicide mission" for Republicans and taking oil from Iraq could help reboot the country's economy.
Washington (CNN) – Nearly a dozen Republicans who might be considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 are auditioning in front of the Conservative Political Action Conference, which touts itself as the largest and oldest annual gathering of conservatives.
On Friday, Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, will speak at CPAC. If Romney is the GOP's past, then Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky are the GOP's future.
(CNN) - Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who's become somewhat of a political celebrity after his nearly 13-hour filibuster last week, took the opportunity to critique his own party Thursday while speaking before a large crowd of conservatives.
"The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered," the Kentucky senator said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "I don't think we need to name any names, do we? Our party is encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom. The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere."
(CNN) – Sen. Marco Rubio offered a loud endorsement of some of the most contentious social positions of the Republican Party Thursday during his speech to conservative activists outside Washington.
Saying respect was required to work with members of opposing viewpoints, Rubio came down hard on liberals he characterized as closed minded.
(CNN) - There are 23 names on the Conservative Political Action Conference's much watched 2016 GOP presidential nomination straw poll.
And there's one glaring omission: Jeb Bush.