• CPAC: Somewhat-Live Coverage of Mitt Romney's Speech

    Has Mitt Romney found his mojo? And if so, is it because of all the weird sex talk accompanying the CPAC proceedings? Decide for yourself, as I explore some of the things overheard during Romney's CPAC speech…

    "We conservatives are not just proud to cling to our guns and our religion; we are also proud to cling to our Constitution."

    This move's got a high degree of difficulty — embracing the negative stereotypes that define your voting bloc, then turning them into pillars of support for the nation's founding document. ("But mostly our guns and religion," he went on to mutter.)

    Romney went on to declare that he wants to "reaffirm" what it means to be a conservative. Hey, no time like the present, right? But let's get back to the speech…

    "A free people pursuing their own dreams and achieving success in their own ways" is what makes Mitt Romney's America great.

    Of course, by "free people" he also means "corporations," which are like regular people, except they're bigger and don't have to obey laws quite so much.

    Oh! At one point Romney mentioned Edmund Burke, the British statesmen and writer who opposed the French Revolution and is largely credited with helping to form modern conservative thought. The line drew the loudest applause of the speech up to that point, so Romney's probably relieved that Burke's been dead for 200 years and can't run himself. But back to the speech…

    "My dad grew up poor. Never had the chance to finish his college degree."

    Boom! If there's one thing politicians like more than today's rich people, it's yesterday's poor people. I just wish Romney had the time to describe the bathrooms his old man had to use. And more speech…

    "I happen to be the only candidate in this race… who hasn't worked a day in Washington."

    This drew some serious applause despite the obvious concern that, if our president isn't familiar with Washington, how's he going to find his way around town? What if he has to walk to the Capitol on special president business? Didn't think of that, CPAC attendees, did you? In all seriousness, though, it's good that he pointed this out. In fact, thanks to the likely tax-exempt money he's still earning from Bain Capital, he doesn't really need to work at all.

    But Romney didn't just hit the economic notes — he also made sure to stress his social conservative credentials. As Massachusetts governor, for example, he said he opposed "embryo farming," as well as "embryo hunting" and "embryo gathering." (Those last two I made up.) But maybe his best quote was this chestnut…

    As Massachusetts governor, he fought hard to "prevent Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage."

    This drew big applause, but it's not every facet of Sin City that Romney has a problem with — people gambling their money on private alternatives to government-provided safety nets, for example, is fine. The main culprit is gay sex.

    And there was so much more! Opposing Planned Parenthood, touting abstinence-only sexual education, ending Social Security as we know it, ruling out tax cuts of any kind. Whatever you think of the GOP field, there's no doubt Romney was strutting his conservative stuff. And as a cherry on top of a speech that couldn't have been more right-wing if he'd been firing warning shots into the air, he decided to go after an oldie-but-goodie GOP target, Bill Clinton…

    "[As Massachusetts governor] I served in government, but I didn't inhale."

    With a speech like that, the only way to leave the podium is accompanied by kick-ass electric guitar riffs. Which actually happened.

    Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: CPAC, Mitt Romney, Primaries, Republicans

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