National Journal Online

Pawlenty Tells Obama To Stop Apologizing For America

When Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made his CPAC debut as a potential presidential candidate last year, his performance fell flat, leading many pundits to question whether he was ready for prime time.

Fast-forward one year later, and the now-former governor got a much improved reception. He delivered a rip-roaring speech that read like a prosecutorial indictment of the Obama administration, attacking the president on the gamut of issues ranging from health care, foreign policy and his handling of the economy.

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 5:58pm

Hatch Takes On His Critics

Continuing his campaign to woo conservatives to his side, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) spoke at CPAC this afternoon, telling the audience he is "prepared to be the most hated man in this godforsaken city" by fighting spending increases and taking on the establishment.

But when a questioner asked Hatch why attendees should trust him given his vote in support of the TARP bailout, Hatch was forced on the defensive, acknowledging he "probably made a mistake" but he cast the vote in order to avoid a depression.

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 4:31pm

Cain: I'm Winging It At CPAC

Roughly two hours before businessman Herman Cain is scheduled to take the stage at CPAC, he still doesn't know exactly what he's going to say.

Cain told Hotline on Call that he prefers when giving major speeches to let the audience dictate his message, a free-wheeling style that's practically unheard of among presidential hopefuls.

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 3:57pm

Circus Atmosphere At CPAC

You don't need to be an aspiring presidential candidate to draw a crowd at CPAC - just look like one.

A Sarah Palin impersonator - down to her red shirt and trademark glasses - caused a stir as she walked through the hotel hallways here, her appearance a close enough facsimile to the former vice presidential nominee that many people let out a yell when they saw her. Discovering she wasn't actually Palin didn't stop hordes of people from taking pictures with her - including real presidential candidate Herman Cain.

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 3:49pm

Thune Keeps 'Em Guessing

Those who wonder if South Dakota Sen. John Thune has the fire in the belly to run for president can keep wondering.

He delivered a perfectly competent but uninspiring speech at the Conservative Action Political Conference on Friday. He was like a good band that falls flat in a live concert, playing the hits the audience wants to hear, but without any improvisation or newfound passion.

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 3:37pm

Cain: Gingrich Is Running For President

Businessman Herman Cain may have just let the cat out of the bag for his friend and political role model, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Cain, who's slated to address CPAC at 4:30 today, told Hotline on Call that Gingrich has purchased office space in Atlanta that will serve as headquarters for a presidential campaign that Cain says is all but official.

"He's in the race," Cain said unequivocally. "Look, he's already bought space. I live in Atlanta, and I've got my spies out. He's running."

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 3:31pm

Brewer Won't Run For Kyl's Seat

Cross Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's (R) name off the list of Republicans who might seek the seat being vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

"You can bet that I'll be following the 2012 race closely as it has serious ramifications for Arizona," Brewer said in a Thursday statement. "I will not, however, involve myself in this contest as a candidate. Arizona faces serious issues and needs a full-time governor, and I intend to see this state's recovery to completion."

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 2:12pm

Romney Delivers Red Meat Rhetoric To CPAC Crowd

Mitt Romney was the first likely presidential contender to address the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, but he still had a tough act to follow.

Himself.

A high bar loomed for the frontrunning Republican for the 2012 nomination, a three-time winner of the conference's straw poll, and a former governor with a record on social issues and health care reform that gives some conservatives pause.

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 1:28pm

Cornyn Jumps In GOP Whip Race

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) has jumped into what's shaping up to be a long race for the number two Senate GOP spot against Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)

An Alexander versus Cornyn race for the Republican Whip position held by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was always likely because Kyl is term-limited as Whip, GOP aides said.

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 12:46pm

Cain Makes The Hard Sell

Herman Cain, conservative radio personality, columnist and former chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza, has no shortage of charisma. But the first of the GOP field to create a presidential exploratory committee doesn't have the same national brand as many of the other potential 2012 contenders. So how does he plan to stand out in what's sure to be a crowded Republican primary contest?

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 12:19pm