Perry: 'Time for a little rebellion'
March 7th, 2014
04:00 PM ET
8 years 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:

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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. spudnik56

    Wow...a large group of limited thinkers...CPAC...

    March 7, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Chat Pata

    Jesus was more likely a communist, at least by Republican standards. He preached re-distribution of wealth. Nimrod, on the other hand refused to part with the friction of his massive wealth, and that makes him a perfect captalist

    March 7, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. LDH2O

    Red states are poorer, have lower incomes and lower health statistics than red states. Rick Perry may be entittled to his own opinion but he is not entittled to his own facts. I recall in the novel 1984 that Big Brother would make up things to proclaim how great his nation was – Rick Perry is doing the same thing here.

    March 7, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. HJA

    Jesus was about as liberal as you can get. Help the poor, take care of the sick, do not judge. The exact opposite of today's repub party.
    Also they seem top have forgotten how Ron's deregulation worked out. Stop hammering industry???? How about industry stop ripping off the people. Without regulation it's stick it to 'em any way you can. Squeeze every last dime from them. It's never enough.

    March 7, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. joe Smith

    This, from the Bible, seems appropriate here:
    But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed,
    because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. [Luke 14:13 &14.]

    March 7, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Jess

    GOV. PAUL LEPAGE R-Maine !!!!

    March 7, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    What a circus. Do they have the guy in a motorcycle driving around on the inside of a metal sphere too? The elephant dung is piled chest high....

    March 7, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    " Taking 17 Nillion in stim money to retroactively balance your budget is not the act of a man with grit and guts"

    Not to mention creating 150K+ new government jobs (i.e., growing gov't) in order to counterbalance the job losses from the recession and then pretending the TX economy was so good despite the recession that the job losses were low...and taking credit for it in that dishonest manner.

    March 7, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Iiksskinaa

    I believe Conservatism is part of the great political balance, just as Liberalism is. My only big problem is that the GOP is not selling me the idea of 'separation of church and state.' I apologize to those offended, but remember what the founding fathers did to the indigenous populations all in the name of Christianity. Those children were stolen away from their families, beaten, and raped by the leaders of the church for acting in anyway 'non-christian,' by which I mean just for being an Indian. I have nothing against Christianity, but I don't appreciate what the 'founding fathers' have done in the name of Christianity across this planet, nor the deliberate denial of these truths, nor the approach that the USA just must be solely a Christian Nation. The Separatists who left Europe came here to find freedom of religion, and yet still those who are trying to be the leaders of the nation are fixated on the idea that the USA must keep ingraining the church and state ideology together, completely ignoring the basis of morality. I'm sorry, but those first American colonizers (much like those in Australia, and numerous parts of Africa) used Religion as justification for the ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide of multiple entire races of people, stealing away any chances of becoming a developed civilization, all because it had to be the one Christian way. The candidate who will get my vote must leave focus on the moralities of the state, not of a singular religion.

    March 7, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Rob

    Come on you guys cannot even relate to those like me. So why would I want people like you in office. You want to go back is dumb you should be trying to make a future that is why for the last 8 years you have been getting whooped and you keep on that way. You want to put money away that's good but you do not think wealthy people should pay more that is not so great.
    For that means the middle class what is left of it from when Bush crushed it. Would again have to carry the weight of everyone else that's just not going to happen. Because you might be wealthy, but you lack numbers and as we are a majority we can keep you out of power for many more years to come.

    March 7, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. Knucklehead

    Jesus was a Socialist. When the rich man asked him how to live, Jesus told him to give away all his money, help the poor, and follow him. Pretty cut and dried. About time you corporate shills rendered unto Caesar.

    March 7, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Knucklehead

    You know you're living in 21st Century America when a so-called "conservative" is fomenting rebellion.

    March 7, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    And of course, CNN still hasn't reported on Paul Ryan's disgusting CPAC speech in which he said that poor folks don't care about their children and told a school lunch story that has since been discovered to be a big fat lie.

    March 7, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Cynthia

    Get out of healthcare, except when it comes to those silly little women who want to make their own reproductive decisions....

    March 7, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. What?

    Now would be the perfect time to almost eradicate 90% of the problems going on now with the just takes one truly dedicated person to walk into that convention and detonate and explosive...POOF....start getting ourselves back together...

    March 7, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. elvis costanza

    Boy, that's a whole lotta "stupid" in one room!

    March 7, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. I AM

    The air-conditioner must have been running full blast with all that hot air in the would be different if the Republicans actually helped the country the last 6 years instead of dragging down the USA with their sandbox antics.

    March 7, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Mark the George W. Bush clone wears glasses? Glasses sure helped Sarah Palin look smarter but nice try anyway.

    March 7, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Texas T

    Please, oh please, Rick Perry, run for president again! SNL needs the material, and laughter cures cancer. You're our only hope!!

    March 7, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. The Anti-Con

    CPAC is nothing more than a low brow, con-cracr version of the Daily Show, but with really, really bad, out of touch writers...For the vast majority CPAC has morphed into that old, cranky geezer walking up and down the street with a sandwich board telling everyone the end is near...good for a few laughs and lots of "I can't believe this guy" commentsvbut nothing more than that.

    March 7, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. tednugent'sdiapers

    When can we force tht red states to secede? I can't wait!

    March 7, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Solomon Walker

    "A fifth-generation Texan, Perry was born in Paint Creek, about 60 miles (97 km) north of Abilene in West Texas, to ranchers Joseph Ray Perry and the former Amelia June Holt. Perry's ancestry is almost entirely English, dating as far back as the original thirteen colonies. His family has been in Texas since before the Texan Revolution."

    Sure, Dick.

    My ancestors were your ancestors royalty.

    March 7, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. spike

    Both parties are totally corrupt. For you who think that the Repubs "want to be in the bedroom", you have it all wrong. The taking of innocent life is murder. Yes there should be laws against murder. As far as Jesus went, the best I can tell is that he advocated for the individual to love one another enough to help the poor, the hungry, the thirsty etc. I never heard him advocate for the forced taking of peoples money to do this.

    March 7, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC


    Polite Centrist,
    Jesus may have done charitable acts towards the needy. But the thing you also fail to point out is he was acting as an individual. He was doing it voluntarily. He was not compelled to do i other than by his own free will. They were charitable acts. Something vastly different than government support.
    "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's."

    Jesus told his people to pay their taxes. Furthermore, he labeled those who would use the The Word as an excuse to not pay their taxes to Caesar hypocrites. Furthermore, you will ultimately be judged by how much you have done for others.

    March 7, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. NyteShayde

    Good place for a drone strike.

    March 7, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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