FEBRUARY 09, 2012
Florida Senator Marco Rubio kicked off the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington D.C. with a fiery speech that covered everything from Medicare to taxes and President Barack Obama’s engagement in class warfare.
“Unlike any leader in modern American history, we are led today by a president that has decided to pit Americans against each other,” Rubio said. “The basic argument he is making to our nation is that the reason why some of us are worse off than we used to be is because other people are doing too well. That the only way for some of us to do better is for some people to do worse.”
The popular Cuban-American lawmaker avoided the hot-button political topic of immigration, though an anonymous flyer circulated around the conference insinuating that Rubio is soft on illegal immigration. It read: “Senator Marco Rubio, elected to the Senate with strong conservative support, gave a keynote speech at the Hispanic Leadership Network Conference in Miami on 1/27/2012, in which he made a number of statements, raising questions about whether he’s distancing himself from his previous opposition to amnesty for illegals.”
Three one-time Republican presidential candidates—Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain—also delivered speeches on the first day. Perry, the governor of Texas, said his presidential campaign just ran out of time. Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, said running for president is “one series of humiliations after another.” Cain, a businessman, said “gutter politics” and putting “family first” led him to drop out of the race. On Friday three presidential candidates—Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich—will headline the conference.
Among the more interesting CPAC seminars Thursday was a panel dedicated to the dangerous resurgence of socialism in Latin America. Otto Reich, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, warned that the type of socialism spreading throughout Latin America is a more pernicious Marxist style than in Europe.
“Latin America is the soft underbelly of the United States,” said Reich, who also served as U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela. He noted that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has granted Iran access to the hemisphere while also supporting Marxist guerillas. “I’m concerned about the covert actions and alliance between Iran and Chavez,” Reich said.
Security is heightened at the three-day conference in the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, with a strong Secret Service presence and special canine units throughout the premises. Judicial Watch will hold a special panel in the main ballroom Friday afternoon on the unconstitutionality of Obamacare.
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