MARCH 06, 2014
Texas Senator Ted Cruz kicked off the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with a number of zingers Thursday morning, but they weren’t nearly as entertaining as the Senate Minority Leader packing heat at the annual gathering just outside Washington D.C.
Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, took the stage with a rifle. He explained that it was a parting gift for retiring Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, but the gun was clearly intended to make a statement. “First of all, the president of the United States is treating our constitution worse than a place mat at Denny’s,” McConnell said, undoubtedly referring to the Obama administration’s heavy-handed gun control measures.
Cruz had pumped up the crowd before McConnell, delivering a number of witty one-liners that got posted to his twitter account for those who missed the fiery speech. Among the favorites was this: “We need to repeal every single word of Obamacare.” Another popular line posted on the Cuban-American senator’s twitter account: “We need to stop the lawlessness. This POTUS is the first we’ve had who thinks he can choose which laws to enforce.”
Other high-profile speakers on the opener day of the three-day event included Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who was excluded from last year’s conference over his conservative values. Christie is embroiled in a bridge scandal back home and took the opportunity to blast the press, saying “we have to stop letting the media define who we are and what we stand for.” The crowd received the meaty governor with a standing ovation and vigorous applause.
By far the most entertaining of the speakers was real estate mogul Donald Trump, who rambled on about everything from immigration reform to entitlement, the Chinese, the national debt and all things Obama. The highlight of his speech came when he lambasted Obama’s economic record and public opinion rating, asserting the president was “getting into Jimmy Carter territory.” Trump went on: “Maybe by next month we will have surpassed the late, great Jimmy Carter.” For the record Carter is still alive and a few news outlets reported that the former president’s grandson was not amused and responded on social media.
There were also a number of informative panels that addressed issues ranging from, Obama’s takeover of public education and healthcare to illegal immigration, foreign policy, global warming and the scandal-plagued Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton was on a late-morning panel, sponsored by the Tea Party, that discussed the IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative nonprofits.
JW has been a leader in investigating the IRS’s illegal scheme against conservative groups and has sued the agency for records. The plot first came to light in an explosive 2013 Treasury Inspector General report that revealed the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as patriot and Tea Party in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status. The questionable reviews continued for more than 18 months, the Treasury report says, and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” preparing for the 2012 presidential election.
On Friday at 3 p.m. Fitton will speak in a panel titled “After Obama, Day 1: What Are the Big Alternative Ideas Conservatives Should Present as Obama’s Terms End?”
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