Update 1:10pm Eastern. McCain to conservatives: “Calm down.”
CPAC: It’s the must-attend event for grass-roots conservatives. There’s much at stake for the GOP presidential candidates. And it all begins Thursday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.The schedule is here. All four GOP contendersare coming, as well as President Bush and VP Cheney. Online registration is closed, but there will be on-site registration throughout the conference.
Hot Air will be on Bloggers’ Row.
I’ll be down to cover the candidates’ speeches and will be speaking at the Thomas Phillips Student Luncheon (it’s a closed event for Young America’s Foundation CPAC attendees) on Friday at noon. After that, I’ll be signing calendars for the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute (open to all) also on Friday at 3:00pm.
CPAC always produces memorable moments. This year’s conference promises to be especially historic. Stay tuned.
Here are the key sessions:
Vice President Dick Cheney
12:30 Hon. Mitt Romney – Regency Ballroom
Introduction: Al Cardenas, American Conservative Union Board of Directors
3:00 Sen. John McCain (AZ) – Regency Ballroom
Updated…Introduction: Tom Coburn
Rep. Ron Paul (TX)
Introduction: Hon. Bob Barr, Liberty Strategies, LLC
President George W. Bush
9:00 Hon. Mike Huckabee – Regency Ballroom (invited)
2:00PM Straw poll.
Human Events reports that McCain plans to use a video of Ronald Reagan to rally conservatives. This does not promise to go over well.
Speaking of Reagan, today is his birthday.
He is sorely, sorely missed.
Here’s a flashback from one of his 17 appearances at CPAC:
We must ask ourselves tonight how we can forge and wield a popular majority from one end of this country to the other, a majority united on basic, positive goals with a platform broad enough and deep enough to endure long into the future, far beyond the lifespan of any single issue or personality.
We must reach out and appeal to the patriotic and fundamental ideals of average Americans who do not consider themselves “movement” people, but who respond to the same American ideals that we do. I’m not talking about some vague notion of an abstract, amorphous American mainstream. I’m talking about ” Main Street ” Americans in their millions. They come in all sizes, shapes and colors—blue-collar workers, blacks, Hispanics, shopkeepers, scholars, service people, housewives, and professional men and women. They are the backbone of America, and we can’t move America without moving their hearts and minds as well.
Fellow Americans, our duty is before us tonight. Let us go forward, determined to serve selflessly a vision of man with God, government for people, and humanity at peace. For it is now our task to tend and preserve, through the darkest and coldest nights, that “sacred fire of liberty” that President Washington spoke of two centuries ago, a fire that tonight remains a beacon to all the oppressed of the world, shining forth from this kindly, pleasant, greening land we call America.
The WSJ asks: “Will McCain make nice?”
Conservatives say Sen. McCain must offer a speech that lays out a conservative philosophy on everything from tax cuts to the appointment of judges. Conservatives aren’t likely to forgive him for leading the push for campaign-finance laws and a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
But Sen. McCain shares conservatives’ ideas on the Iraq war and abortion, which are intensely important to the Republican base. A strong statement on spending — something that “makes it explicit he’s not going to go along” with President Bush’s $3.1 trillion 2009 budget — also would be popular, Mr. Regnery says.
Sen. McCain’s problem is that he owes much of his early-primary success to independents and moderate Republicans, and he will be dependent on those voters again if he is the party’s nominee. In early exit polls in New York yesterday, 46% of Republicans who described themselves as conservatives gave their votes to Sen. McCain, while 61% who called themselves moderate favored the senator.
So far, those moderate voters haven’t held Sen. McCain’s conservative views against him. In the early New York exit polls, 56% of voters who said abortion should be legal and 45% who said the Iraq war is the country’s biggest problem voted for Sen. McCain.
Sen. McCain’s election chances would plummet if those moderate and liberal voters switch to the Democratic nominee in November. But they also would be sorely damaged if conservative activists stay home.
Charles Hurt at the NYPost spotlights “suicide voters” on the Right.
Glenn Reynolds continues to disparage those who strongly disagree with McCain as “Kossack-like.”
Guess he wouldn’t approve of the “Dear John” letter from passionate Florida Cuban-American Republican blogger George Moneo at Babalu Blog.blog comments powered by Disqus
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