Sen. Rand Paul demolished his competition in the 2014 Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll on Saturday, winning 31 percent of the vote — nearly three times the total of second-place Sen. Ted Cruz.
The poll also found a strong plurality of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference believe marijuana should be fully legalized, with 41 percent saying it’s time to change the law and tax it. Another 21 percent said it should be legalized only for medicinal purposes, while just 31 percent said it should remain illegal in all cases.
But according to Chad Pergram, Ted Cruz is the winner of the Senate Conservative Fund straw poll:
Cruz wins Senate Conservative Fund straw poll for prez with 42%. Rand Paul 2nd at 17%. WI Gov Walker 3rd with 10%.
The first television ad from Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli features his wife, Teiro. In the ad, Mrs. Cuccinelli focuses on the softer side of the Republican attorney general's political career.
Mitt Romney expressed regret at not being the next president of the United States in a speech today at CPAC:
"Each of us in our own way is going to have to step up and meet our responsibility. I'm sorry I won't be your president," said Romney. "But I will be your co-worker and I will stand shoulder to shoulder alongside you."
Mitch McConnell, the leader of the GOP minority in the Senate, struck an upbeat tone in his Friday morning address to the conservative activists gathered at CPAC. “Friends, this is a moment of renewal. I truly believe it,” he said. In this era of new beginning, McConnell is seeking his sixth Senate term next year, and the 71-year-old conservative Republican is embracing his much younger Kentuckian, Rand Paul.
Before Rand Paul even arrived at the Gaylord National Harbor convention center in Maryland for his Thursday afternoon CPAC address, the stage was set for his raucous reception. Outside the convention hall, a team of eager young volunteers began passing out t-shirts, stickers, and posters emblazoned with the catchiest political slogan since “Yes We Can.”
As conservatives wrestle with the question of their movement’s commitment to national security, one young war veteran made the case for a strong national defense and Ronald Reagan’s entreaty that America pursue “peace through strength.” Speaking Thursday morning at CPAC, freshman congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas tried directly to appeal to those conservatives wary and weary of American wars against radical Islamic terrorists.
In the first major address of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli presented the gathered activists with an unusual charge.
“Conservatives should lead the campaign to changing the culture of corrections in America,” said Cuccinelli. It was a strange line in the sand for the 2013 Republican gubernatorial candidate, who has reputation as a fiery, liberty-minded pol. But in listing his five priorities he would pursue as Virginia’s governor, Cuccinelli ended on this note of compassion.
Mitt Romney's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference today was a step in the right direction for the candidate on many levels. He tacitly acknowledged that he wasn't steeped in conservative ideology at the same time he paid homage to it, noting that growing up he would have mistaken Burke and Hayek for members of the Detroit Tigers lineup. He all but micturated on the grave of compassionate conservatism by proclaiming that he was a "severely conservative" governor of Massachussetts.