Conservatives Look for Gains in 2014 and 2016 ...Next > 
Activists Hear from Luminaries and Potential '16 Candidates at CPAC 2014 

March 6-8, 2014--Thousands of conservative activists from around the country gathered at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington, DC for speeches, panels, films, networking, and a bustling exhibit hall at the 41st Conservative Political Action Conference.   The audience included many young people; forty six percent of all registrants at this year's CPAC were students, Attendees enjoyed hearing from prominent figures in the conservative movement, including many of those mentioned as possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates.  At least ten potential candidates spoke, depending upon whom one considers as a potential candidate: Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), Rep. Paul Ryan (WI), Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) on day one; Gov. Rick Perry (TX), former Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR), former Sen. Rick Santorum (PA) and Sen. Rand Paul (KY) on day two; and neurosurgeon Ben Carson on day three; Sarah Palin and Donald Trump also spoke. 

Democrats, meanwhile, ridiculed the conference, issuing a memo stating that "the traveling circus is back in town and the gathering is more divisive than ever."  The progressive American Bridge 21st Century posted a graphic on its Facebook page noting that, "Only 3 of the 25 speakers confirmed for CPAC 2014 are women."  Some conservatives also have quibbles with CPAC.  EMPact America and Breitbart News Network hosted "Uninvited II: The National Security Action Summit" on March 6 at the Westin Hotel around the corner from CPAC.  While CPAC does have its over the top moments and limitations, the conference serves to energize conservative activists and spread conservative ideas.  in past years progressives / liberals have held comparable "Take Back America!" conferences, but there do not appear to be plans for such a conference in DC this year. 

In the much-watched straw poll, 2,459 registrants participated, down from 2,930 in 2013.  Sen. Rand Paul finished with a huge lead at 31%, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz at 11%, neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 9%, Gov. Chris Christie at 8%, Gov. Scott Walker at 7%, former Sen. Rick Santorum at 7%, Sen. Marco Rubio, last year's second place finisher, at 6% and others rounding out the field (>). 

This year's conference marked the 50th anniversary of the
the American Conservative Union, the primary organizer of the CPAC conferences.  William F. Buckley, Jr.  formed the ACU following Barry Goldwater's defeat in the 1964 presidential election. 
CPAC Scenes
Selected Speakers and Panels
March 6
Sen. Ted Cruz (TX)
Sen. Pat Toomey (PA)
Rep. Paul Ryan (WI)
Sen. Tim Scott (SC)
Session: Healthcare After ObamaCare
Gov. Chris Christie (NJ)
Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA)
Sen. Marco Rubio (FL)
Sen. Mike Lee (UT)
Session: Income Inequality
NRA's Wayne LaPierre
Businessman Donald Trump
March 7
Gov. Rick Perry (TX)
Sen. John Cornyn (TX)
Session: Privacy
Oliver North, founder of Freedom Alliance
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR) FL
Session: Criminal Justice Reform
Ralph Reed, chairman of Faith & Freedom Coalition
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (PA)
Sen. Rand Paul (KY)
March 8
Under 40 Honorees Rep. Jose Felix Diaz / School Board Member
Carlos Curbelo
Jenny Beth Martin, president  of Tea Party Patriots / Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN)
Dan Hannan, member of the European Parliament
Session: Wisconsin, unionism
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation
Session: Electoral Trends
Session: Why Conservatism is Right for Women
Straw Poll Results
Former Gov. Sarah Palin (AK)
It is now that we bring our country back to our founding principles of constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, free markets, a strong national defense and traditional American values.  It is now that conservatives pull our nation back from the brink of Obama’s disaster.
 - ACU Chairman Al Cardenas

Exhibits and Around and About
general views  |  faces  |  candidates  |  media  |  talk radio
alphabetical order:  American Atheists  |  American Energy Alliance  |  Americans for Prosperity  |  Association of Mature American Citizens  |  Campaign for Liberty  |  Citizens United  |  College Republicans  |  Concerned Veterans for America  |  |  dotgop  |  Equality for Puerto Rico  |  Free Market Warrior (authors)  |  Generation Opportunity  |  How Money Walks (book)  |  Leadership Institute  |  Let Freedom Ring  |  National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee  |  National Organization for Marriage  |  National Rifle Association  |  Obama Brick  |  Patriot Voices (Rick Santorum)  |  RAND PAC  |  Regnery Publishing  |  Right on Crime  |  Sportsman Channel's "Amazing America with Sarah Palin"  |  Students for Liberty  |  Tea Party Patriots  |  Ted Cruz for Senate  |  Western Center for Journalism  |  Young Americans for Freedom   |  Young Americans for Liberty  |  Young Republicans  |  2nd vote  |  entertainment.  Book signings and more:  Ben Carson  |  Jim DeMint  |  Rand Paul  |  Rick Santorum.

Transcripts/Texts: Cruz  |  Ryan  |  Christie  |  Jindal  |  Rubio  ||  Perry  |  Huckabee  |  Santorum  |  Paul  ||  Carson

 Democracy in Action Coverage of Past CPACs:
  2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005