Presidential Hopefuls During CPAC 2015

Several days ago, the Conservative Political Action Conference- better known as CPAC - took place in National Harbor at the Gaylord Hotel. The new chairman of the American Conservative Union, Mr. Matt Schlapp, elected in June 2014, has made news saying he is more open to growing a coalition of conservatives: “If we don’t make our coalition bigger, we will never capture the White House. That doesn’t mean we water down our principles, but it does mean we can have a conversation with people who agree with us 80% of the time.” Schlapp also added, "Sometimes people who love each other can have deep disagreements, and we should not shy away from it."

The conference began on Wednesday night with a boot camp for training with attendance of thousands of people. Then for the next couple of days a procession of potential presidential candidates for the Republican nomination went through the stage. Unlike prior conferences, the candidates did not speak from a platform propped several feet above the audience, but instead they had a two floor platform setting where they could, if desired, first give a speech and then answer some questions with either famous commentators like Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham or other less know personalities asking those questions.

Here are some of the most remarkable quotes of some of those potential candidates during their time at the conference by order of appearance:

  • “We need to understand what true compassion is to reach out to individuals who think that being dependent is reasonable as long as they feel safe.” Dr. Ben Carson said as he was the opening speaker of the conference on Thursday morning.
  • “Is the election next week?” - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answered to Laura Ingraham when she questioned him about the low numbers in recent polls. "If I decide to run, let me tell you one thing: I will run a hard-fighting campaign where I will fight for the hardworking taxpayers of this country," Gov. Christie added.
  • “Unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know that flying is an activity, not an accomplishment” was one of Carly Fiorina’s lines during her fervent, thoughtful and well-delivered speech “Mrs. Clinton, name an accomplishment.” Mrs. Fiorina added.

  • “Demand action, not talk,” Texas Senator Ted Cruz told the crowded room, emphasizing how that is what makes some candidates different from the others.

  • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker won a great applause with the line, “There’s a reason we celebrate the Fourth of July and not April 15, because in America we celebrate our independence from the government and not our dependence on it.”

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was one of the very few not using a teleprompter as he emphasized in his message three main things: “We must repeal every single word of Obamacare; we need to remove Common Core from every classroom in America; and we are at war with radical Islam.”

  • Gov. Sara Palin gave a straightforward and serious speech focused on the government's poor treatment of U.S. military veterans, “Congress should pass legislation to secure veterans' benefits permanently”.
  • Speaker Newt Gingrich focused on the threats of groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram, saying that “America should win and they should lose.”
  • Florida Senator Marco Rubio said in his speech, “Imagine if we had a commander-in-chief that understood the way to defeat ISIS is not to find them a job." Later, during the Q and A with Sean Hannity he said on regards to immigration, “You have 10 to 12 million people who have lived here, some for longer than a decade, who have not broken any immigration laws, I get all that. But what I’ve learned is that you can’t even have a conversation about that until people believe and know — not believe, but know — that future illegal immigration can be controlled and brought under control.”

  • Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave without a doubt, one of the most inspiring speeches during CPAC: “I've never been more certain than I am today that America's best days remain in front of us. The weakness and incompetence of our government shouldn't be confused with the strength, the ingenuity and the idealism of the American people.” With regards to the threats against our country he said, “ISIS represents the worst threat to freedom since Communism!”
  • Kentucky Senator Rand Paul arrived late to his scheduled speech due to a delayed vote in the senate, and when he spoke he also went after Secretary Clinton saying, "It's time for Hillary Clinton to permanently retire."
  • Donald Trump let out his strong emotions against President Obama but also said strong statements against Mexico, call it “the New China” He stated, “Mexico is not our friend. I’m not just talking about the border. Mexico is ripping off the United States big league and we have to do something.” Those statements have burned the bridge for him to be a serious potential contender in the presidential race, as the rest of the candidates concentrated on real enemies to our country.
  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum also focused on the threat to our country, “Over the past few months, we have seen the American public rightly question the President about his refusal to identify the enemy. They are asking the question, how can we defeat what we refuse to understand?”
  • Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush gave authentic and straight answers to a strong Q and A session with Sean Hannity at the main stage. A determined group of supporters of Sen. Rand Paul, led by William Temple of the Golden Isle Tea Party, walked out of the room while Gov. Bush was being interviewed. That distraction did not affect Gov. Bush on his focused message, and he gave a great interview that has been condensed in this video.
  • ​On the last day of the conference, US Representative from Washington, Cathy McMorris Rodgers also gave a great speech: “The President's policies have robbed millions of Americans from tremendous opportunities. A job is so much more than a pay check. A job is what gives your purpose, it gives you dignity. It is an opportunity for a better life. A Job is THE opportunity.” McMorris Rodgers is the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress, and along with Carly Fiorina and Susana Martinez, is certainly one of the most likeable and capable women. All three women could become a possibility for the presidential ticket.

Three important people, that in my personal opinion, were greatly missed at the main stage of CPAC this year were: former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and Former Florida Congressman Col. Allen West, although Col. West came to CPAC Friday to give interviews and greet conservatives.

I hope that the conservatives in our great country gather together and focus on solutions, unite in purpose and engage with all Americans instead of continuing to destroy each other in spite of minor differences. The only way to be successful in winning elections in 2016 is to unite together as conservatives from different camps. The danger in on the left, the progressive movement; that is the real political enemy.


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