CPAC Kicks Off With Marco Rubio

Thousands of conservative activists converged Thursday on Washington for CPAC. But aside from a packed hotel ballroom and a few memorable applause lines, the throngs were noticeably subdued as the yearly conservative confab kicked off.

That may change Friday, when Republican hopefuls Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are scheduled to speak. But for a crowd of self-identified conservative activists that numbered about 10,000, there was no palpable sense of excitement and few outward signs of support for most of the presidential contenders.

“It’s been tough. A lot of people are still undecided, and they keep saying they need more information. There’s not a lot of excitement here yet,” said Joseph Lipp, who was handing out stickers for Santorum.

In a primary season that has thumbed its nose at many of the typically predictive events on the campaign calendar — Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll but finished sixth in Iowa — campaigns may have made a conscious decision not to invest heavily in CPAC. Continue Reading…

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Allen West to Obama, Pelosi and Reid: Florida ain’t on the table, get the hell out of America

English: Former U.S. Representative and Speake...

Lost in Herman Cain’s surprise endorsement of Newt Gingrich Saturday night at the Kravis Center was a rousing speech by Rep. Allen West, who received a bigger applause and ovation than either Gingrich or Cain.

West gave a 10 minute speech at the Lincoln Day Dinner, telling a very approving audience that, “We need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend the chairman of the Democratic National Committee (Debbie Wasserman Schultz), let them know Florida ain’t on the table.”

West then told his rivals to, “Take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.” Continue Reading…

U.S. Ground Forces Would Shrink By 100,000

U.S. Ground Forces Would Shrink By 100,000: Pentagon leaders outlined a plan Thursday for absorbing $487 billion in defense cuts over the coming decade by shrinking U.S. ground forces, slowing the purchase of a next-generation stealth fighter and retiring older planes and ships.

In a bid to pre-empt election-year Republican criticism, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the plan shifts the Pentagon’s focus from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to future challenges in Asia, the Mideast and in cyberspace. More special operations forces like the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden will be available around the world, he said.

“We believe this is a balanced and complete package,” Panetta told a news conference, with Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at his side.

Some lawmakers were quick to dispute him.

“Taking us back to a pre-9/11 military force structure places our country in grave danger,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee that will hold hearings on the Pentagon budget plan. Continue Reading…

Mitch Daniels Can’t Save The Republican Party

White House Portrait of

Mitch Daniels Can’t Save The Republican Party: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) gave a perfectly serviceable speech last night. It was a bit dull, maybe, but it wasn’t a wrenching exercise in self-humiliation. Which is to say, by the standards of post-SOTU responses, it was a stunning, historic success. But it was also a reminder of the difficulties Daniels, a fantasy-draft presidential pick for many Republicans, would face if he entered the campaign.“When President Obama claims that the state of our union is anything but grave,” Daniels said, “he must know in his heart that this is not true.” And the reason for Daniels’ gloom was debt. We have too much of it. Much too much of it. And over and again, Daniels signaled that Republicans were not blameless in the rise of red ink. “The President did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight,” he said. “To make such action happen, we also must work, in ways we Republicans have not always practiced, to bring Americans together,” he admitted. Continue Reading…

Obama Pledges Economic Equality In SOTU Speech

English: US President Barack Obama and British...

Obama Pledges Economic Equality In SOTU Speech: US President Barack Obama has used his last State of the Union speech before the November election to paint himself as the champion of the middle class, by demanding higher taxes for millionaires and tight reins on Wall Street.

Taking advantage of the huge national platform of his annual speech to Congress, Mr Obama defiantly defended his record after three years in office and laid blame for many of the country’s woes at the feet of banks and an out-of-touch Congress.

He proposed sweeping changes in the tax code and new remedies for the US housing crisis as he made the case for reducing income inequality in America.

While the biggest proposals in Mr Obama’s election-year speech are considered unlikely to gain traction in a divided Congress, the White House believes the president can tap into voters’ resentment over the financial industry’s abuses and Washington’s dysfunction. Continue Reading…

Republican Rebuttal To State Of The Union

White House Portrait of

Republican Rebuttal To State Of The Union: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered a pointed and pugnacious response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, in a speech likely to amplify the drumbeat of voices urging Daniels to wage a late presidential bid.

The term-limited Daniels, who ruled out a White House run last year, slammed Obama for promoting “pro-poverty” extremism and leading a “constant effort to divide us.”

A former budget director under George W. Bush, Daniels was chosen by Republican leaders as a respected and serious voice who could credibly position the party as the champion of business.

“As Republicans, our first concern is for those waiting tonight to begin or resume the climb up life’s ladder,” Daniels said. “We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have-nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon-to-haves.”

Daniels also assailed the president for halting the Keystone XL pipeline project that would transport oil from Canada to Texas, equating the move to a “pro-poverty policy” — a line reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s accusations on the campaign trail that Obama is the “food stamp president”. Continue Reading…