Posted on | March 5, 2014 | 32 Comments
Every year, the question is, “How can this CPAC possibly better than last year’s?” I’m not sure, but every year they try:
As soon as attendees at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) check into their hotel rooms, they will see evidence that the 2016 presidential campaign has already begun. Room keys at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center are emblazoned with the face of Dr. Ben Carson and the slogan, “Run Ben Run!” This promotion is provided by the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, which has already raised nearly $3 million to encourage the famed heart surgeon to pursue the Republican Party presidential nomination.
By the time CPAC ends Saturday afternoon with a speech by 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, attendees will have heard from nearly every politician mentioned as a potential 2016 GOP presidential contender, beginning with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s speech Thursday morning. Cruz will be followed to the CPAC rostrum Thursday by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and business mogul Donald Trump. Friday’s lineup includes Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks Saturday, in addition to the speeches by Carson and Palin. Among the names commonly discussed as Republican presidential candidates in 2016, only Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are missing from the CPAC schedule. . . .