February 27th, 2009
06:31 PM ET
14 years ago

Romney sounds like a candidate again at CPAC

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/06/art.romney.gi.jpg caption="Romney ended his presidential bid at CPAC last year."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitt Romney may not officially be running for any office right now, but the former Massachusetts governor returned to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday and sounded an awful lot like the presidential candidate who ended his campaign here last February.

Romney delivered a speech that resembled, in both style and substance, his campaign stump speech of 2007 and early 2008, detailing his opposition to liberal judges, jihadists and higher taxes.

And in criticizing President Obama and House Democrats on a number of issues, Romney - often interrupted by standing ovations - made clear that he intends to remain a player in Republican politics as he eyes a potential presidential bid in 2012.

He opened his speech with a cheeky nod to one potential rival who didn't make the trip to the annual gathering of conservative activists - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"There's a rumor that she has been offered an 11 million dollar book contract," Romney said. "My publisher has been talking to me about an 11 millon dollar deal as well. I'm just not sure I can come up with that kind of money."

Though Romney said he would support President Obama when the two men agreed on an issue, he disparaged as "awfully vague" some of the plans the president outlined in his address to the nation this week and in his new budget, and said that proposals for universal healthcare and universal pre-school would lead to "universal government."

"I'm afraid I know where the liberal Democrats want to take us," Romney said. "And as they try to pull us in the direction of government-dominated Europe, we're going to have to fight as never before to make sure that America stays America."

Romney also targeted Attorney General Eric Holder for his recent remarks that America is "a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussing race.

"To those who question the character of our country, including the new attorney general, let us remind them that America has never been, is not now, and will never be a nation of cowards," he said, prompting a roar from the crowd and chants of "USA!"

He broke with other Republicans at the conference, including Mike Huckabee, who blasted the federal bailout of the financial industry as something akin to socialism. Romney argued that the legislation was necessary to infuse the market with currency in order to "prevent a cascade of bank collapses." But the Detroit native admonished the Bush administration for using federal funds to bail out domestic automakers.

Romney won back-to-back victories in the CPAC Straw Poll in 2007 and 2008, wins that helped him shore up support among the party's base as he campaigned for president. He is on the ballot once again this year, with the results due Saturday afternoon.

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Muffet

    Romney only speaks for the wealthy. He is clueless about the day to day challanges the average American face everyday. Romney's point of reference as for his views? Money, money, money and more money just for him and his wealthy family and friends. If folks don't see this train coming, they'll deserve exactly what they received from Bush...a difficult life.

    February 27, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. Put an End to the Republican Dictatorship Over the US

    Hey Mike in SoCal!

    Looks like the typical Repugnican Response........'you're spelling is incorrect' please, all you guys know how to do is spell check

    by the way, SoCal is part of the problem with the US

    February 27, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |




    February 27, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. ines

    Romney had a severe loss in the 2008 primaries. People in both parties are fi ercy against him. He doesn't have anything to offer than anybody wants in 2012.

    If you feel you must, Mitt, run. Spend a whole lot of money. You're only helping the Democrats.

    February 27, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. virginia for obama

    I don't mean to change the subject but,

    Did anybody hear Michael Steele and Michell Bachmann trying to be hip. She told Michael that . . "He's Da Man".


    February 27, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. george

    The Republicans have started to campaign for 2012 since the night of November 4th. Why do they want to be in government anyways? After all, for them government is incapable of enpowering people and solving problems. Tired of that old playbook. In fact it was resoundingly defeated on November 4, 2008. President Obama is not campaigning, he is governing and by his leadership the GOP will live or die. I pray for the latter.

    February 27, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  7. john

    No way will I ever vote for this guy. Romney has no chance in 2012. I hope he runs and wastes millions of his own money.

    February 27, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  8. Denver Mom

    Huckabee for President
    Romney for Vice

    Those two brilliant minds together might be able to correct some of the mess Obama is creating and certain to continue creating for the next three years...

    February 27, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. Denver Mom

    To Old&Outdated:

    Following your philosphical observation, the "old" & "outdated" seem to also be a lot more fiscally responsible and wise. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the GOP convention to see A LOT of young Americans. The generation missing were the Hippies Babies. But I think you will find that if you go to a GOP convention or there meetings that there are a lot of us in our thirties who do NOT want our children's futures going down the drain with the crazy spending and philophies of the left.

    February 27, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  10. yuri

    Alright, Mitt, what gives this time, ol' pal? Just do not critize the other party with cross-eyed curiosity, that can cause cacophanous chaos, and not constructive comments, which are singularly lacking in most GOPs' gibberish. One of your chums styled BHO as a socialist salesman, conveniently forgetting past 8 years of tantalizin' travails under W.

    Huckabee, who should have gone back to preachin', dubs BHO's actions as those of Stalin's and Lenin's. John Boehner, who is busy being grouchy like a darn shrew mouse or even worse, clamors about socialism. Do any of THESE guys have a better solution or can you ever guarantee better outcome with the cockamamy caused by the criminally callous GOP?

    February 27, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  11. CharlesinDallas

    I can't wait for this guy to run for President...then Obama can reveal his record as an outsourcer of jobs to India. That should pretty well do it.

    February 27, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  12. Joan , Ontario

    Why have the Republicans taken such a negative, critical and pompous stand on every issue so far? These are not normal political times. They should wait until the economy is stable again until they start to flex their political muscle, not now. They sound just like they did for the last eight years and that didn't turn out well for them in 2006 and 2008. If they had taken a more reasonable approach to the stimulus instead of deciding to vote against it before they even knew what was in it, they would have come off looking much better. They did have time to read it because many journalists did so instead of writing negative speeches, they should have gone through the amendments and known what they were talking about. If they were trying to actually help the country and support the man who the voters chose by a pretty strong majority, they would be winning more public support. This way they are never going to swing over any Democrats or Independents. They have an odd strategy. Right now they have a huge PR problem because their leaders seem to be very disconnected from many Republican mayors and several governors. If they keep up this negativity and back stabbing, it just helps President Obama look that much better.

    February 27, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  13. GOP = Greed Over Poverty.

    Didn't we just tell a rich repub NO on 11.4?

    February 27, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. Nestor, Austin, TX


    "the Clinton era greatness"

    You mean when radical Islamists attacked us again and again and Clinton did nothing? Or when Clinton was forced to balance the budget by the Republican Congress? Or when Clinton sent his buddies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to get 8 figure bonuses? Or when Clinton refused to take out Bin Laden when Special Ops had him in their sights? What greatness are you referring to?

    February 27, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Gracie

    Oh Lordy, here we go again. Romney clearly is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He obviously didn't learn his lesson when he got his butt whooping running for Presidential. All his millions didn't help him at all. These GOP jerks are either all deaf, dumb and blind or just plain STUPID beyond words. The latter is starting to ring true.

    When you hear all the ignorant bragging being shoveled out at the CPAC event, you would think it was another KKK rally, except for the fact their new RNC Chairman, Micheal Steele is their prized "black token circus clown" being praised by Michele Bachmann as HE'S DA'MAN of the evening. I guess the RNC really thinks they are HIP HOP cool. Wow.......and we thought The Wringling Brothers Circus had left town!!!

    February 27, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. funny

    They say they should act like the insurgents.. I say we should send our troops after then.

    I find it funny that we go to war with other countries, when a government or group disagrees...

    but in America we just call them republicans.

    What's the difference..

    Republicans want to force their ways and values on people
    They don't agree with anything
    They don't want rights for people
    They back and support hate groups
    They are stuck in outdated ways
    Their way or no way at all.

    February 27, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Romney and Palin gonna tear each other up in the primaries and it will be good for a laugh.

    Both have zero chance against President Cool.

    February 27, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. Mike in SoCal

    Chris in Va.

    I'm not a Republican. I'm beleive in the Constitution.. I believe in the sovereignty of the United States, free markets, and the Judeo-Christian ethics upon which this country was founded. However, I am neither a Christian nor a Jew. I don't wrap myself in the flag but embrace it. However, I find it morally repugnant that people like you would hope to burn it and everything it stands for. So far you look well on your way, comrade.

    February 27, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  19. Pat

    It's not hard to see that most of you on here are liberal losers! You hate "good" and "truth", you are blind as a bat.

    February 27, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  20. Larry

    RUN-RUN-RUN-You better be CONSERVATIVE,do you know what I'm saying????? If you do understand RUN-RUN-RUN

    Obama is bankrupting our country vary quickly,and unfortunately Democrats appear to love Obama more than their country,we need help.

    February 27, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  21. JJ

    Republicans are not working with Obama for America/people, they are focusing in themselves.

    February 27, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. BS Fan

    Woof woof who let the dogs out. Yawn, sleepy rhetoric for somebody who defended GW as doing a good job

    February 27, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  23. reggie

    Romney/Palin 2012. Less than four years away til the big spending ,inexperienced current president leaves office.

    February 27, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  24. Charlie in Maine

    When I considered what the Republicans offered in 2008 Mitt Romeny stood out among the choices as the only one of the lot who would have been able to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of being worse than George W Bush. All the others represented at least one thing that would have made them better than Bush. Ron Paul wanted to end the war, Huckabee seemed likable (but very wrong) Guliani was a crime fighter, John McCain wanted to stop torture etc.

    Any one of them would have been better than George W Bush. (Except Romney) Though none of them come close to Obama in either stlye or substance.

    February 27, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  25. Young minnesotan

    It just is sad that the GOP cant just shut up. If they are so upset then they should do something about it and not just sit and whine like always. And Romney is being very unintelligent by challenging a very popular president (67% approval rating) and it could be a political blow.

    February 27, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
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