WSJ: As others head to baseball spring training or Daytona Beach, thousands of conservatives will converge today, Thursday 03.14.13, at a huge hotel complex outside Washington, D.C., for a very different rite of spring.
Known to insiders simply as CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference will draw the ultimate who’s who in Republican politics, barring a few names who have been barred for various political transgressions.
Over three days, GOP congressional leaders, governors, presidential hopefuls and has-beens, party operatives, lobbyists, thinkers and an array of provocateurs on the right will present their visions for the party’s future and dissect what went wrong in last year’s elections.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The annual gathering, hosted by the American Conservative Union, goes back to 1973, and traditionally ends with a straw poll of the favorite conservative presidential candidate. Since 2007, Mitt Romney won the poll five times and former Rep. Ron Paul won twice.
This year’s gathering will be closely watched by a legion of at least 1,000 reporters, bloggers and commentators as Republicans debate how to reorient the party in the wake of last year’s election losses and how to keep pace with a changing electorate.
The invite list is nothing if not expansive, ranging from Donald Trump to the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierrre. But a few big names have been excluded, among them New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who angered many GOP congressional leaders in the fight over post-Sandy aid, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who signed off on a revenue-raising highway bill that irked many conservatives.
Here are some of the highlights plucked from a packed schedule of speakers, panels and workshops:
Associated Press – Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.)
9 a.m.: Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general
9:30 a.m.: Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.)
10:45 a.m.: Immigration Panel
1:15 p.m.: Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.)
1:30 p.m.: Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.)
3 p.m.: Panel: Does the Buckley rule still apply and who decides?, with American Crossroads CEO Steven Law
3:15 p.m.: Texas Gov. Rick Perry
3:30 p.m.: Sen. Tim Scott (R. S.C.)
5:15 p.m.: Panel: The Legacy of Andrew Breitbart
6 p.m.: Paul Ryan (R. Wis.) has a meet-and-greet
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images – Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.)
Associated Press – Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.)
8:45 a.m.: Donald Trump, chairman and president of The Trump Organization
9 a.m.: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.)
9:15 a.m.: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.)
9:30 a.m.: Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.)
9:30 a.m.: Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, who wants to take on the big banks
9:45 a.m.: Panel: November 2012 Autopsy
10:45 a.m.: Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association
Noon: Rick Santorum, former senator of Pennsylvania
1 p.m.: Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and former presidential candidate
2:25 p.m.: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
3:35 p.m.: Rep. Eric Cantor (R., Va.)
Getty Images – Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.)
Associated Press – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
9:05 a.m.: Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa)
9:45 a.m.: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.)
10 a.m.: Dr. Ben Carson
10 a.m.: Technology panel
Noon: Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska
3:45 p.m.: Reince Preibus, chairman of the Republican National Committee
3:55 p.m.: David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association
5:10 p.m.: Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas)
Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital
CSPAN will be covering the CPAC Event