CPAC speeches address future for political conservatives


The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held once again at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland at the Gaylord Hotel from March 6-8.

CPAC is annual gathering of political activists and politicians to discuss the political agenda of conservatives across the nation through workshops, speeches, and panels. The attendees generally consist of members of the Republican and Libertarian Party, along with a minority of independent voters.

CPAC gathers data from their attendees by conducting an annual straw poll by the Washington Times. This year, in first place, Senator Rand Paul from secured 31 percent of the vote by registered CPAC attendees, followed by Senator Ted Cruz at 11 percent. Dr. Ben Carson received 9 percent of the vote, closely followed by Governor Chris Christie with 8 percent and Senator Rick Santorum and Governor Walker both received 7 percent.

This year’s poll also showed that 46 percent of the CPAC attendees were between the ages of 18 to 25 years old, a usual statistic from past years.

The poll also showed that a majority of attendees favor the legalization of marijuana, favored spending cuts to fix the deficit and did not approve of the republicans in Congress.

This year’s CPAC was kicked off with an address from Texas Senator Ted Cruz regarding the political futures of conservatives.

“Liberty is under assuage…We can stand for principles,” Cruz said. Cruz went on to address the necessity of the youth vote to win elections to obtain a republican majority in the Senate.

Congressman, Former Vice Presidential Candidate and Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan from Wisconsin addressed the attendees about the ideological differences in the Republican Party and how they will be affect the party.

“Take Obamacare. We now know that this law will discourage millions of people from working,” Paul said. “And the Left thinks this is a good thing. They say, ‘Hey, this is a new freedom—the freedom not to work.’ But I don’t think the problem is too many people are working—I think the problem is not enough people can find work. And if people leave the workforce, our economy will shrink—there will be less opportunity, not more.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed CPAC this year by discussing the misconceptions about income inequality.

“The greatest con game in modern American politics is the idea that more government is good for the little guy,” McConnell said. “Here’s the truth: under this president and Harry Reid, the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer and the middle class is fleeing like never before. They’ve done next to nothing for the little guy. They said more spending would create new jobs for working men and women. They said more taxes on the rich would level the playing field for the poor. They said more regulations would punish the big banks. And, of course, they said ‘If we like it, we can keep it.’”

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was invited to speak at CPAC this year despite not being requested last year after his praise towards President Obama’s efforts after Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012. Christie, the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, addressed the need for more conservative governors rather than focusing primarily on Congressional elections.

“The most dangerous ten feet in Washington is between anyone who wants to start talking and a camera,” Christie said in reference to a Congress full of talk and little action.

Christie also addressed frustrations with the Obama administration.

“If that’s your attitude Mr. President, then what the hell are we paying you for,” Christie said. “…Leadership is about getting in and getting something done, not to just stand on the sidelines.”

Following Christie’s speech, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal discussed school choice.

“The Department of Justice has taken us to federal court to try to impede this program. Now, I want you to think about this. We’ve got Eric Holder and the Department of Justice trying to stand in the schoolhouse door to prevent minority kids, low-income kids, kids who haven’t had access to a great education the chance to go better schools,” Jindal said. “Over 90 percent of these kids are minority children. Over 100 percent of these kids are in low-income families who would otherwise go to C, D, or F schools. … I think it is cynical, immoral, and hypocritical for the attorney general and the president to deny these children the same choices and chances they would want for their own children.”

Senator Marco Rubio addressed the crowd with a focus on redefining America’s approach to foreign affairs.

“We cannot ignore that the flawed foreign policy of the last few years has brought us to this stage, because we have a president who believed but by the sheer force of his personality he would be able to shape global events,” Rubio said. “We do not have the luxury of seeing the world the way we hope it would be. We have to see the world the way it is. And we have to address these issues before they grow unmanageable, and they threaten, not just our freedoms, but our economy.”

Entrepreneur Donald Trump concluded the first day of CPAC by addressing the issues in American foreign policy and how that affects our economy.

“China, which I’ve been talking about for the last five years, yesterday – right in our face – they just devalued our currency,” Trump said. “What they’re really saying is, ‘We’re really ripping you big league. Nobody’s ever done it better than us, but now we’re going to really do it again.’”

Trump also addressed President Obama’s job performance. “We’re getting into Jimmy Carter territory,” Trump said. “I think, maybe, by next month we will have surpassed the late, great Jimmy Carter.”

Granted, Former President Carter is still alive.

Governor Rick Perry of Texas started off the Friday session of CPAC with a speech regarding the success of Texas under his administration.

“We have created almost 30% of the nations jobs, while keeping taxes among the nation’s lowest.” Perry said. “We have demonstrated that no state can tax and spend its way to prosperity.”

Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee visited CPAC with a speech criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s position on the attack in Benghazi, Libya.

“I know it had not one thing to do with some ridiculous video,” Huckabee said.“With all due respect to Hillary Clinton, it does make a difference why they died,”

Former Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum gave a speech regarding faith influencing politics.

“I think we need to talk a lesson from someone who is, maybe, the most popular person in the world right now, Pope Francis,” Santorum said. “…He’s not going out there [saying] what the Christian faith is against, but what we’re for. He’ll go out there and talk about the good news to a hurting world…What we need to do is talk about the good ideas we have.”

Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky concluded Friday’s session of CPAC by addressing liberty as an essential to political youth activism.

“Imagine a time when liberty is again spread from coast to coast,” Paul said. “Imagine a time where the White House is once again occupied by a friend of liberty…I’m talking about electing lovers of liberty. … The question is will we be bold and proclaim our message with passion or will we be sunshine patriots retreating in the face of adversity?”

The Saturday and final session of CPAC conducted speeches by Former House Speaker Newt Gringrich, Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson and Former Alaska Governor/Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin.

Gringrich addressed the crowd by stating “I also came to issue a warning. We must stop being the opposition, but become the alternative movement that will help make the lives of Americans better.”

Dr. Carson, a popular figure in conservative media for his views on social issues and the federal government, emphasized the importance of alternatives to Obamacare.

“We need to make sure that [health care] stays in their hands and not in the hands of the government,” Dr. Carson said. “What happens with ObamaCare, is that we, the American people, with that program have shifted the power given to us by the Constitution and the Founding Fathers to the government…We need to redo it and put the power back in the hands of the people and make sure it stays that way…The most important person when it comes to your future is you.”

Sarah Palin concluded the conference by channeling Dr. Suess to criticise President Obama.

“I do not like this Uncle Sam. I do not like his healthcare scam,” Palin said. “I do not like these dirty crooks or how they lie and cook the books. I do not like when Congress stills. I do not like their crony deals. I do not like the spying man. I do not like ‘Oh yes we can.’”


To see highlights of the speeches given at CPAC, view the video above.

For more information about CPAC and the American Conservative Union, visit