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. TheTruth

    No Chat, Jesus never preached redistribution of wealth. There is no record anywhere of Nimrod refusing to part with wealth, nor is it recorded anywhere that he was cheap, stingy, selfish or greedy.
    No, HJA, Jesus wasn't liberal.

    March 7, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. Craig

    Red State America is "better off" because they take more than they contribute from the Federal Government. When they stop receiving all that free stuff they'll discover that paying for it yourself really sucks. By all means let's all be like Texas. We can start by closing down all schools that teach Critical Thinking, save money on textbooks...because copies of the Bible are less expensive...and simply moan when industrial disasters wipe out whole communities due to no regulations and monitoring.

    March 7, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. GrogInOhio

    Wow... what a clown show.

    March 7, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. arpiniant

    red states are better off because the blue states are paying them to be, typical

    March 7, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine


    " 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.
    How no one on the right or the left has called Perry on that one is beyond me. He's not created jobs, he's stolen them from other states, and he can't even say the real jobs that push the Texas economy forward are being filled by people from TX. The state does such a poor job in educating its citizens that they need to lure people from Blue states with an education and a work ethic down there to get the economy moving, and they rely on the Feds to bail out their inept job of budgeting at the state level as well. He's the biggest case of smoke and mirrors on the Right, and he still gets a spot at CPAC? If they had any sense at all, they would lock him outside. Incredible.

    March 7, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    it must be said wrote:

    ot a problem. All of the food and energy that the blue states get from red states will go up 1000%. Don't like it? Walk or starve, makes no difference to us.
    Most of the fruits and vegetables that the nation eats come from California and Florida. What's grown in a red state usually stays in that red state.

    March 7, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "When can we force tht red states to secede? I can't wait!"'s sometimes hard to resist the urge to refer to the South as "Lincoln's Folly."

    March 7, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Midwest2

    Thank you to the many posters who made my day with your wonderful comments. Didn't even need to add my 2-cents worth, as you took care of all of it. (Wish I lived in a blue state!)

    March 7, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. PtBarnumBoy

    Rick has 3 things to say but thankfully he can only remember 2.

    March 7, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine


    No Chat, Jesus never preached redistribution of wealth. There is no record anywhere of Nimrod refusing to part with wealth, nor is it recorded anywhere that he was cheap, stingy, selfish or greedy.
    No, HJA, Jesus wasn't liberal.
    He also never walked around with a copy of " Atlas Shrugged" in his pocket, talking about the virtue of being selfish, either. Jesus was not a conservative, either. He sacred the hell out of the Pharisees, a role the GOP seems more than willing to fill.

    March 7, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. spoo

    Ideas ??? Perry has no idea

    March 7, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Expat American

    The Benny Hill soundtrack must have been playing on a 24-hour loop at the CPAC Hate Fest.....

    March 7, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Mr. Richard Feder

    @ Rudy NYC: The GOP response to your comment, "No, YOU'RE Divisive!"

    March 7, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. Sophie Katt

    Citizens of Jonestown.

    March 7, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC


    The GOP needs to dumb down their speeches so that serial liberals can understand how jobs are created...Until they do that and simply explain how liberals will have more jobs and opportunity, they will continue to vote for a lie that the Government will create jobs for them.
    Interesting. Government creating jobs is a lie.
    Conservatives will continue to vote for the same thing....that a conservative government does create jobs.

    March 7, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. w2lucky

    This party just doesn't get it. Stuffy rich guys with zero personality just won't sell to the general population in this country. Where is the charismatic, strong, and intelligent candidate we all want? No, Hillary is not the answer either.

    March 7, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Mike

    Mr. Ooops strikes again!

    March 7, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Mr. Richard Feder

    Third thing on Rick Perry's To Do List before yelling at CPAC. "Remove Harry Carey glasses."

    March 7, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. Middle of the Road

    Am I the only one who thinks the Benghazi argument doesn't hold much water with anyone but their base. I'm not claiming that Clinton wasn't wrong in the situation, or even if there was a cover up. I don't know. All I'm saying is that the average american probably won't care one way or another. Most of them probably couldn't even find Benghazi on a map, let alone tell you what the dispute was even about. Yes, 4 Americans died and that's tragic, but we lose Americans every day in conflicts and we don't always hold the Secretary of State responsible. I just find it hard to believe this is the only thing Republicans have on Clinton to show why she wouldn't be a good president.

    March 7, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Ron L

    I was going to write an explanation of how bad it would be in America for the less fortunate if our country was "EXACTLY" the way CPAC members would like to see it. But I will keep it short and sweet. There would be more poor people in America, there would be fewer people with healthcare, the minimum wage would be lower or not exist, women would never earn the same as a man for the same job, abortions would once again be illegal, more voter restrictions would be written into law and that is only the beginning. In short a LESS COMPASSIONATE America. The thing that irritates me the most, is when these people attempt to tie their behavior with Jesus Christ. They seem to forget, one way you are "suppose" to show you believe in Him is to act like Him. Many of these people are the exact opposite.

    March 7, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. Bill

    I think the GOP comedy of 2016 will be even better than 2012, if that is possible. Keep talking Mr. Oops.

    March 7, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Big In Texas

    Texas is a big republic. The easiest and simplest way for Perry to be President is have Texass seceed from the United States and he can proclaim himself as President of a Republic.

    So there won't be this Red or Blue States. Just Texas, a southern big country in North America. That way all Texans don't have to worry about Big Government or anything. Heck, Bexar County in Texas is big enough to seceed from Texas itself and form another republic.

    Yee Haw!! LOL!!!

    March 7, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Bubba

    Conservaturds always preach Adam Smith's fiscal policy and Jesus' messages with the same breath. Thing is; Jesus liked the poor, blessed them, and even told us that "as you do onto the least of these you do onto me". Mixed message here, and only one of the two is correct.
    You can't serve Money and God. You will have to choose. No exceptions.

    March 7, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. amisc1970

    Interesting that Perry asserts that “red state America is better off than blue states." Average income in blue states is higher than in red states, as is college graduation rates, IQ, etc. So in what way does Perry mean "better off?"

    March 7, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. sonny chapman

    Hey 'The Truth"(takes a lot of nerve to give oneself that name). If you really believe the Teachings of Jesus as found in the Four Gospels, look at Matthew 25,31. There's your Judgment Day Criteria. Good Luck.

    March 7, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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