Breitbart News will be providing live updates on the second day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday. Potential 2016 presidential candidates who will speak include: Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), whose father attracted the most fervent following at past CPACs.
Other speakers will include Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Ralph Reed, and Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, Ollie North
The main event will be on Saturday, when Sarah Palin closes out the conference for the second time in the last three years. Stay tuned to Breitbart News for coverage. Here is the CPAC schedule. The event can be viewed online below:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): Arriving to a rousing standing ovation, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that the Sons of Liberty would be declaring, “We will not trade our liberty for security; not now, not ever.”
In the type of speech that will resonate with conservatives, libertarians, and everyday Americans who value their privacy and adhere to the Constitution, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), asked the crowd to “imagine a time when our great country is then governed by the Constitution” and a “time when the White House is occupied by a friend of liberty.
Paul, whose father attracted a fervent following at previous CPACs, will seek to expand the liberty movement his father in places like Iowa and New Hampshire if he decides to run for president in 2016. He said it is no longer good enough to “pick the lesser of two evils” when there is a great and tumultuous struggle for the future of country. He asked whether attendees wanted to be bold defenders of liberty or just merely “sunshine patriots.” Paul said that when the Bill of Rights is being watered down, they should “be all on fire like the unstoppable William Lloyd Garrison” who said that he would not equivocate, retreat an inch, and “will be heard.” He said the Sons of Liberty that would declare, “We will not be detained, spied upon.” He said they would say, “We will not trade liberty for security; not now, not ever.”
He said while the “government maintains you don’t own your records…. I disagree.”
Paul said that “generalized warrants that don’t name an individual and seek the records of millions of individuals goes against the very fabric of the Fourth Amendment.” He recalled that John Adams said that James Otis’ revolt against generalized warrants a “spark” that started the American Revolution.
He said in the “great battle for the heart and soul of America,” the Fourth Amendment is equally important as the Second Amendment, and conservatives cannot forget that.
He urged Americans to not act like lemmings and rush to big government and then blasted Obama for “shamefully” signing an order that allowed the government to imprison Americans without a trial, saying, “a great president would have taken pen in hand and vetoed this abomination.”
He also said that anybody who has been a minority–whether because of the “color of your skin or the shade of your ideology”–should be afraid that government might imprison Americans without a trial. He said those who have been minorities because of thought or religion or anyone who has taught children at home or prayed when they were not supposed to should also be alarmed.
Paul said that “our rights our inherent” and they are “inseparable form person.”
“They are innate,” Paul said of the rights given to man by God. “And no government can take them away from us.”
Rick Santorum Urges Republicans to Talk about American Workers Instead of ‘Middle Class,’ Blasts GOP Establishment for Not Connecting with Them
Santorum said that when the GOP establishment says, “we have to win,” they mean “we have to lose.” He said it is not surprising that when Republicans apologize for policies they say they supposedly believe in that they end up getting routed on election night.
“Even if that results in a win for a Republican candidate, it will be a devastating loss for America,” he said.
He blasted Republicans for talking about job creators instead of job holders when most of the country’s voters are those who work from 9-5. He asked conservatives to stand with the underemployed and the unemployed and asked Republicans to paint a picture for Americans in which every American can see themselves and say, “that’s me.” He also asked conservatives to not rail against Obama and learn from Pope Francis about arguing what they are for.
Santorum urged Republicans to stop saying “middle class” because there are no classes in America. He said liberals want to divide Americans into classes and Republicans should stop using their language.
He said Republicans didn’t connect with American workers during the last election, and that is why they stayed home, and that is why the country his where it is today. Santorum talked about the importance of the American family and said, “when the home breaks down, the economy breaks down.”
He said he wanted to talk about “celebrating marriage” for how good it is for the economy
Santorum said the country also need folks who work from 9-5 and then coach Little League, volunteer at the libraries, and be a parent for kids in their neighborhoods that may not have good ones. He said the country needs people who value more than money and spoke about neighborhoods without dads and 40% of Americans being born out of wedlock.
He said government, private enterprise, and the education system can do a lot to promote marriage. For instance, he said business could provide marriage counseling as a benefit.
Santorum blasted the GOP establishment for only trotting out job creators last year instead of putting employees on the stage who were grateful that someone took a risk to create a job for them. Santorum said the job creator could then expressed how grateful the person was for the employee that helps their enterprise succeed. But the clueless GOP establishment and their consultants do not know how to unify Americans with such messages, Santorum said.
Should Santorum make another run for 2016, his focus on American workers will resonate. But his association with the so-called K-Street project and the domestic policies associate with George W. Bush that conservatives did not like will force him to overcome questions about whether he succeeded in 2012 largely because he was the last remaining default “anti-Romney” candidate who had not imploded.
After a panel on how social conservatives and libertarians can work together, Foster Friess, Rick Santorum’s biggest backer, introduced Santorum, who is also testing the waters for a 2016 presidential bid, praised Santorum for talking about workers and emphasizing issues of concerns to Americans who shower at night and work with their hands.
Cleta Mitchell: Citizens United Decision Traumatized the Left and Continues to Do so Today
Mitchell, the attorney who represents conservatives who were targeted by the IRS, said the Citizens United decision meant that citizens could talk about the issues and connect the dots and call elected representatives out for voting for things like Obamacare and the stimulus package. Liberals immediately knew that this could galvanize Americans to remove them from office for voting for terrible bills.
Mitchell said that is why Democrats suddenly demanded that the IRS “do something,” which is why the IRS eventually targeted Tea Party and conservative groups.
She said leftists became “so worried” that citizens would be able to talk and disseminate information about politicians during election time that they tried to “silence” Americans and suddenly became so interested in these conservative and Tea Party groups.
Dinesh D’Souza: Obama Believes in ‘Moral Indictment of America and the Free Market’
Dinesh D’Souza, who has accused the Obama administration of targeting him by charging him with campaign finance violations, said that President Barack Obama’s response to the “threats on the horizon” and “new emerging empires,” including the consolidation of the Islamic empire and the emergence of Russia, has been shocking.
He said it was a great mistake to understand Obama as a “mere amateur.”
“The point about Obama is that he is someone who wants to shrink America’s footprint in the world,” he said. “He wants to remake America.”
D’Souza said that he predicted that in his 2016 movie and was not happy that his predictions have come true. He said Obama is like an actor who is “playing out our script.”
“He reminds me a bit of a toy soldier who walks into the wall and keeps going,” he said.
D’Souza said that Obama was upset at 2016.
“Wait until he sees the new one,” he declared.
D’Souza then said that Obama was made by central argument of American progressivism, which, at the core, is a “moral indictment of America and the free market system.”
He said progressives like Obama believe that “America and the wealth of America is based on theft.” They believe that America stole land from Native Americans, took the labor of Africans, stole a part of Mexico, and is currently taking oil from the Middle East. He said Obama believes in the concept that some people have not earned their paychecks while others have been deprived of their “fair share.”
“This is what we are up against,” D’Souza said of the “moral attack against capitalism.”
He said his new movie, America, will make the “moral case for America and for the free market system.”
“Decline is a choice, but so is liberty,” D’Souza said. “Let us resolve… that liberty is our choice.”
Rick Perry: Liberal Maryland Gov. Peeved When I Criticize His ‘Rain Tax’
In remarks during a panel on prison reform during CPAC, which is being held in National Harbor, Maryland, Perry spoke about how governors in the states often compete to implement the best policy solutions, and that is ultimately healthy. Perry then said, though, that some governors are not comfortable with it. And he said that when he shows up to Maryland with TV ads about “the rain tax y’all have” some governors get “peeved.” Perry has promoted Texas in states like Maryland and California and asked their residents if it would be smarter if they moved to Texas.
Ralph Reed: Reed is speaking on the war on religion and said it is time for Attorney General Eric Holder go. He said conservatives should no longer follow those with “profile in cowardice” who engage in mushy, mealy-mouthed moderation. He said to no longer follow those who are about “capitulation masquerading as compromise.” He said to follow unalloyed and unapologetic conservatives who stand up for principles like the sanctity of life and the sacred institution of marriage.
Panelists Put Forth Ideas on Prison Reform
Rick Perry praised Bobby Jindal, who created a seminary program in Louisiana’s prisons. Perry modeled some of Texas’s programs after Jindal’s, and he said that faith-based solutions are making a difference. He noted that California’s prison capacity is 180% while Texas’s is 96%. He said the state even “shut a prison down last year.”
“Real conservative governance is shutting prisons down and stopping recidivism,” Perry said, noting that the crime rate in Texas is as low as it has been since 1967. He said minimum sentencing guidelines are wrong and “being able to give people a second chance is really important.”
“That should be our goal,” Perry said. “The idea that we lock people up, throw them away, never give them a chance at redemption is not what America is about.”
Pat Nolan, the director of the Center of Criminal Justice Reform, noted that many states prohibit felons from even cutting hair, denying them opportunities to get back on their feet when they get out of prison. Nolan spoke about a Pennsylvania company that hires, after considerable vetting, those who have served time and said other companies should consider doing the same.
Perry talked about giving limited liability to employers that hire people who have been in prison so that those that go into prison can become entrepreneurial instead of career criminals. He said he pushed for vocational programs in prison.
Bernard Kerik, the former Police Commissioner for New York City, was housed in prison with men who sold a whale’s tooth on eBay and those who were sentenced for ten years for a first-time, non-violent offense. Kerik said that he met many good men in prison who were great fathers and family men, and he conceded that he would have thought that anyone who told him that before he went to prison was crazy. Kerik said that people are being punished for regulatory and administrative violations, and he said that many don’t even know they were even violating regulations. Kerik said that when a first-time offender for a non-violent offense goes to jail, he gets no education, no life improvement skills, and instead he gets a new education about how to steal, cheat, lie, manipulate, gamble, and fight.
“It’s a training ground for thuggery and criminality,” he said. “And then, by some delusion, we believe that he is going to go back to society a better person.” Kerik emphasized that the system is broken and should focus more on locking up violent and more serious offenders.
Grover Norquist said that liberals do not have credibility on this issue and conservatives cannot let the left try to create more solutions to the problem.
Mike Huckabee: He did not speak of bumblebees, but Huckabee spoke about God, family, and foreign policy in a way that will make him a formidable player in states like Iowa and South Carolina should he run in 2016.
He said that if Americans forget God then God will have every reason to forget Americans.
Huckabee blasted Obama’s foreign policy, saying that Putin only shivers when he has his shirt off in winter. He said that peace is not the result of a military that is dismantled. And he said that a country should have a military so awesome that no country would dare to poke or provoke it. He blasted the Obama administration for mistreating Israel.
On religious liberty, Huckabee said that “the government cannot dictate how much faith a person can have and how much a person can believe.”
“It’s time for the government to scale back, not for the people of faith to scale back,” Huckabee said. “Religious liberty should be unimpeded in this nation.”
He said that the Second Amendment is the last resort to protect all of the other freedoms.
Huckabee said that conservatives should not spend “our time fighting each other” without noting that the top-down “unity” approach on terms favorable to the establishment has only empowered Democrats by causing Republicans to lose three of the last four national elections.
Should Huckabee give up his comfortable lifestyle to try again to get the GOP presidential nomination, he will enter the 2016 contest with considerable strengths and a message that speaks unfiltered and directly to Evangelical voters in Iowa and South Carolina. But he will also be hammered on immigration, fiscal issues, gifts that he received while he was the governor of Arkansas and his questionable pardons and commutations that have been likened to Michael Dukakis’s pardon of Willie Horton. Huckabee has released people from prison who have gone on to rape women and kill police officers.
Oliver North: He praised the 2.4 million Americans who have forfeited the comforts of home and volunteered to “protect us from an enemy that is literally dying to protect us.” He said they deserve better than a commander in chief kowtowing to foreign leaders and apologizing for America while gutting the nation’s defense and drawing “phony” red lines. He said a strong leader is at least respected around the world even if not feared.
North warned conservatives that if they give up on social and religious issues they “will cease to be a force in America.”
He asked attendees to make a commitment to preserve America’s freedoms and stand up for the liberties granted to us by “our Creator and enshrined in our Constitution.”
Col. Rob Maness, a conservative candidate running to replace Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, introduced Col. Oliver North. He said that North is the epitome of the phrase, “You are never out of the fight,” and he reminded the audience that North had said that President Barack Obama draws his so-called “red lines” with pink crayons.
The Death of American Privacy: Does it Matter if the Government Records Every Phone Call, E-mail and Text You Send?
Jim Gilmore, the president of Free Congress and former Gov. and Attorney General of Virginia, said that what Edward Snowden did is not consistent with American values. He said that he had initially resisted the surveillance state, but now believes such programs can be responsibly managed to protect America’s national security. Gilmore said non-state actors that seek to disrupt the world are threats that America has to be prepared to meet and American can set the rules down in an appropriate way with proper oversight. Gilmore, though, said that Rand Paul’s views on privacy were dangerous and criticized those who just wanted a slap on the wrist for Snowden.
Bruce Fein, of Bruce Fein & Associates, blasted the intelligence community for saying that the American people are too stupid to know what is required. He said that he thought that the U.S. Supreme Court would find the NSA spying programs to be unconstitutional.
Charlie Kirk, Executive Director of TurningPoint USA, asked whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) or True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht were enemies and mentioned that “enemies are being redefined” by the Obama administration and that is why these widespread spying programs are dangerous and subject to abuse. Kirk said Congress has not done a good job overseeing the various spying programs and the branches of government are being weaponized against the American people and those who favor limited government may be the next targets.
The panel also discussed whether the intelligence community is becoming too reliant on technology instead of old-school methods of spying.
John Solomon of the Washington Times moderated the panel.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX):
He did not fire up the crowd like Perry did, but Cornyn blasted the Obama administration for not holding anyone accountable for Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and the failures of Obamacare.
Cornyn, who won his GOP Senate primary over Steve Stockman, even mentioned that HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius even told him that felons could be hired as Obamacare navigators.
Cornyn said to get a new culture of accountability, the GOP must hold the House and take back the Senate by winning states like Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Nebraska.
“Let’s bring accountability back to Washington, D.C.,” Cornyn said. “So let’s get to work.”
Rick Perry: “It’s time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas”
Perry, the failed 2012 presidential candidate who has been aggressively testing the waters for 2016, glasses and all, highlighted the success of states led by Republican governors. They, Perry said, trust the people more than the “machinery of government.”
He came out fired up like a Texas A&M yell leader and praised the reforms of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, his friend and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Florida’s Rick Scott.
He said nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress can federalize education, healthcare, or control the environment. And he said the federal government should get out of healthcare and education.
“We must elect the right kind of leaders to represent us in D.C.,” Perry said. “Leaders who devolve powers to the states, and not rob them of it.”
He said in his state of Texas, they cut taxes, enacted fair and predictable regulations, and stopped personal trial lawyers from filing frivolous lawsuits. As as result, Texas has created 30% of the nation’s jobs and has experienced an energy boom and the nation’s largest population boom. He said that it costs twice to move from San Francisco to Texas than the other way around because U-Haul trucks are in such high demand.
“Let the sleeping giant of American enterprise create prosperity again,” he said.
Taking a page out of Howard Dean’s 2004 playbook, Perry told the crowd, “You have the power to change America. You have the power to speak to our newest hopes in addition to our age-old dreams.”
Many of Perry’s former top staffers now work for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), another potential 2016 candidate. Unlike Cruz, who blasted the crony capitalists in Washington who are “suckling” off of government, Perry’s speech did not focus on that theme as much.
Obama’s record has gotten worse since 2012, and though Perry would have to overcome the less-than-ideal first impression he gave voters in his maiden run, the competitive Texan would have a powerful platform and message in 2016 if he contrasts all of Texas’s economic successes that have been fueled by conservative policies with the failures of the federal government after it lurched to the left after Obama got elected.
The Texas governor is not running for another term. His attorney general, Greg Abbott, is battling Wendy Davis to succeed him. Abbott leads by double digits in the polls and has raised more money than Davis.