CPAC 2014 – The LIVE BLOG Day 1

Wow. So here I am sitting in our nation’s capital preparing to listen to some of our most important conservative leaders. I am so excited to be here in DC – I hope you’ll check out our updates here at Eagle Rising.

9:00am – Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) kicked off CPAC 2014 with a rousing speech outlining ten keys to restoring our nation. The crowd loves him and it’s plain to see why – he’s charismatic and passionate. Are we listening to part of the 2016 Republican Presidential ticket?

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9:45 – Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) knows how to connect with an audience. His personal story of failure and poverty only to be awakened by a personal mentor he met at a South Carolina Chick-fil-a is mesmerizing. He also outlined his “Opportunity Agenda” which I’ll try to dissect a little later in a separate article for y’all. Let’s just say Mike Rowe would approve…

10:15 – The brilliant George Will joined Senate stalwart Tom Coburn (R-OK) for a discussion on the constitution moderated by David Keene of the Washington Post. The conversation revolved around a simple premise – “Does Congress even matter?” Both Will and Coburn had some remarkable insights on the topic. Senator Coburn discussed the terrifying realities that present themselves when a President consolidates and abuses power in the executive branch. Will believes that as the government continues to grow, Congress will grow ever more irrelevant because it will simply have too much on its plate. Senator Coburn offered a “fix” to the problems that ail us – a Convention of the States!

10:30 – Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was received warmly, if not raucously. Ever the politician Senator McConnell threw out a lot of “red meat” for the crowd  – speaking mainly about the copious Democrat scandals that have been popping up over the last year or two. He discussed the IRS scandal, mentioned the media cover-up of the Clinton-Benghazi scandal and the pain that Democrat policies are causing our nation.

10:45 – Former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton spoke passionately about defending the US from outside threats. He seemed to hit the libertarian wing of the Republican Party while also taking a swing at President Obama and the Democrat Party. He said that the Democrats multilateralism and the isolationism of libertarians achieves the same goals. While I may disagree with his sentiments – I was impressed by the catchy slogan he came up with…

“Drift. Decline. Defeatism. This is the Obama, Biden, Clinton and Kerry Doctrine.”


11:15 – Former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino was easily the most powerful speaker of the morning inspiring the crowd to rowdy applause. I will definitely be writing up more about Mr. Bongino’s speech later because his short speech was chock-full of great stuff. His personal story is moving, his personality is engaging and his passion for the “real” issues that average Americans care about is contagious. The heart of his speech was the fact that we are losing to policies that are destroying our nation. We are losing because while we argue policy the Democrats argue emotion … and that connects more easily with the average voter. I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Bongino is a rising star in the Republican Party and we will hear a lot more from him in the future.

That’s the highlights from the first morning of CPAC. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and a few others also spoke…

Still to come Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).


12:00 noon – Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) was welcomed very, very warmly. He may have his foibles but these folks still love him. “We have to start talking about what we are for and stop talking about what we’re against. The reason is – our ideas are better than theirs.” In my opinion Governor Christie still has his sights set on the White House because he is now pointing out how much better the Governors are doing than the folks in Washington are. He cited Scott Walker (R-WI), John Kasich (R-OH), Rick Snyder (R-MI) and Rick Scott (R-FL) who have done some amazing things in purple/blue states. Governor Christie also railed against the intransigence of Washington, D.C. and the influence of the media on what we talk about and how we allow ourselves to be defined. He spoke passionately about all of the good things he’s done in New Jersey and his pro-life credentials. Speaking about how the media pretends Republicans are intolerant on social issues Governor Christie pointed out that Republicans have many pro-choice members in leadership but the Democrats have no pro-life leaders – “They’re (the Democrats) are the Party of intolerance not us!”

Well! That was rousing. Governor Christie really knows how to fire up a crowd. There’s a reason he was able to win in deep blue New Jersey… he’s running for President in 2016, you can bank on it.

Next up – Bobby Jindal!

12:20 – Bobby Jindal is really easy to listen to. It may be due to his casual southern drawl or to his use of some AWESOME zingers.

“Some have said our President is a smart man, it may be time to rethink that… I want to apologize to President Carter, it is no longer safe to say that he is the worst President of my life time. That honor now belongs to President Obama!”

93% of Louisiana parents are happy with the school choice programs that the state has built – who could be against a better education for our kids? “President Obama and Eric Holder.” Governor Jindal has a message for the President and Attorney General, Louisiana is ready to fight them. Governor Jindal spent much of his time railing against BIG government. He mentioned many of the scandals the White House is entangled in and he also attacked the administration for it’s assault on religious liberty and the First Amendment in general. “This country didn’t create religious liberty and freedom. Religious liberty and freedom created this country!”

Governor Jindal finished by declaring his optimism for our future and issuing a rallying cry to CPAC for us all to be ready to fight. Just as Governor Christie is clearly ready to run in 2016 – it seems that Governor Jindal is also planning to make a move to the White House in 2016. I am a big fan of the Governor from Louisiana and this speech just reinforced those feelings for me.

12:40 – Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) opened by encouraging CPAC goers to remember that America is still the greatest nation in the world. Rubio came out swinging at the Obama administration “the policies they support have NEVER worked!” Senator Rubio threw out a lot of red meat for the crowd arguing that Big Government was hindering our economic growth by stifling investment.

Because their policies fail they resort to tactics the LEFT always resorts to – pitting Americans against each other.

Senator Rubio focused his time on the dangers we face in the world today – China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and others. The Obama administrations policies have made this world a more dangerous place than it was in 2008. President Obama has been pompous in believing that he could shape the future of this world simply by the power of his personality. Senator Rubio also pointed out that the trouble being propagated all over the world is being committed by totalitarian regimes. He also tied the foreign policy dangers we face to our economic prosperity, reminding those in the room that we live in a global market – instability out there is bad for the economy here.

“The good news is that we have everything we need to succeed economically – except for the leadership in the White House.”

12:55 – Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) had the job of closing out the major speeches for today. He began with a story that led him to remind us that we should be looking to find common ground with our fellow conservatives. Instead of beating each other up for our minor differences we should focus on the major common ground we share. Senator Lee thinks that now is the time for Republicans to earn back the trust of the American people and DESERVE to win in 2014. Senator Lee said that we needed CPAC 2014 to be a replay of CPAC 1976. In 1976 Ronald Reagan was derided by establishment Republicans for primarying President Ford. Reagan’s response was a call for a “new” Republican Party and four years later President Reagan destroyed the establishment and led the Reagan revolution. That’s what we need now – dump the establishment and renew what the Republican Party stands for. It was an excellent way to end the first day of speeches at CPAC – with a call to action and unity.

Throughout the rest of the day there will be roundtable discussions and a pair of speeches from Wayne LaPierre and Donald Trump. It’s sad to see Trump here again – the man is a brilliant businessman and self-promoter but he is HARDLY a conservative. Look for more of our coverage on CPAC tomorrow – when we’ll be live blogging the day’s speeches again.


Blogger of the Year Award – So, surprisingly I did not win the Blogger of the Year award here at CPAC 2014. However, Mary Katherine Ham, (who is awesome) did win. And she deserved to. If you’ve never read her work surf over to and check it out…

Best quotes of the morning… “Our fundamental rights are gifts from God not grants from the government.” — Professor Ken Blackwell from my alma mater Liberty University.

“Charlie Crist had switched parties – he was an Independent now he’s a Democrat. He’s running out of parties.” — Marco Rubio on facing Charlie Crist

Random Cool Moments – I was literally inches away from Fox News’ Carl Cameron as he whispered with his aides and on his phone! Exciting! Also, I shook hands with former Ambassador John Bolton whose foreign policy chops are unmatched… even if I personally disagree with his FP ideas. The dude is brilliant and he has a great mustache!

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