GOP 2016 Hopefuls Flock to Western Conservative Summit

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley
AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

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 favor 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. Gov. Scott Walker bursted 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 how he fought 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 memorized 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 war time 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 Roberts, who backed Obamacare in the Supreme Court just yesterday, Santorum replied that he thought most of Judge Roberts’s opinions were good, but that people make mistakes, and he had made a few.

The conference’s first day ended with a rousing rendition of “God Bless America” and kicks off tomorrow with a panel entitled “The Decline of the Mainstream Media,” chaired by none other than your faithful correspondent.