DENVER, Colorado—Over 4000 delegates are expected to gather at Denver’s Convention Center this weekend for the Western Conservative Summit. Speakers include presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, and Scott Walker.
The conference, dubbed the “CPAC of the West,” kicked off on the same day that the United States Supreme Court opined in favour of same-sex marriage across all 50 states. The issue is set to dominate the discussions over the next few days, with delegates and speakers already discussing the impending legal challenges, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker bursting out of the blocks promising a constitutional amendment to protect states rights.
The stage on the opening night, however, was dominated by Rafael Cruz, father of Republican candidate Ted Cruz, who implored the audience to back his son for the GOP nomination.
Cruz the elder drew massive cheers.
He told the story about him fighting against tyranny in Cuba, knowing of a young man who talked about hope and change, before going on to attack the rich, and redistribute wealth, after being elected. “That man,” he said, “was Fidel Castro.”
He regaled the audience with stories of how his son memorised the U.S. Constitution at the age of 13 and was a world debating champion by the time he was at college.
“He’ll make mincemeat out of [Hillary Clinton]” on the debating stage, he proclaimed, arguing that America doesn’t need a manager, but a leader and a fighter.”
Cruz was followed by Rick Santorum, who stressed his foreign policy credentials, asserting that he wrote 10 years ago about the threat of Sunni jihadists and the rising threat from a nuclear Iran.
Hillary will seek to do what Obama did, divide and rule, he said, asserting that America’s next president will need to be a wartime president.
Santorum drew huge applause when talking about ISIS. “They’re not terrorists,” he said. “That’s what they do, not who they are… They’re not violent extremists. They’re violent and they’re extreme but that’s not who they are. They are radical Muslims,” he said, “That’s who they are.”
Asked about his vote in confirmation of Justice John Roberts, who backed Obamacare in the Supreme Court just yesterday, Santorum replied that he thought most of Judge Roberts’s opinions were good, but people make mistakes, and he had made a few.
The conference’s first day ended with a rousing rendition of God Bless America, and it kicks off Saturday with a panel titled “The Decline of the Mainstream Media,” chaired by none other than your faithful correspondent.