NATIONAL HARBOR, MD—A famous conservative walks into a ballroom …. If he is sticking to tradition, he opens with a joke. Or a story that makes him look good or brave or important.
On Thursday, the American Conservative Union hosted a handful of high-profile
Here's how they began their speeches:
"Now, having witnessed the events abroad these last several days, as we see the president of Russia invade a neighboring country while our president wants to downsize our military, while our president brags about the increased spending on
"You know, we have long thought and said this president is a smart man. It may be time to revisit that assumption, or at least to make a distinction between being book-smart and being truly wise. And so today, let it be heard — and I hope he's watching — to President Carter, I want to issue a sincere apology. It is no longer fair to say he was the worst president of this great country in my lifetime. President Obama has proven me wrong."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: "I want to start off with a story from New Jersey.
"A few years ago, our pension funds and our public employee health benefit funds together was over $130 billion in debt. And we put together a plan to do the things that they should be doing here in Washington, D.C., on entitlements --raise the retirement age, end cost-of-living adjustments, more penalties for early retirement and more money being put into the system by the people who are actually benefiting from it.
"And after we proposed this, you can imagine that I was extraordinarily popular with the public employee unions. And so we decided to do what we do in New Jersey — not to go to the Chamber of Commerce and have a lunch. I decided to go to the New Jersey Firefighters' Convention …
"I came to the podium like this, and I said, as they were booing the hell out of me, 'Come on, you can do better than that. Let's go.' And they did. And then I said to them I had prepared remarks to make. And I took them, and I tore them up, and I threw it at the side of the stage.
"And I said, 'So here's the thing. I understand that you're angry, and I understand that you feel deceived, and I understand why you're booing. The only thing I don't understand is why you're booing the first person who's ever come here and told you the truth. The truth is that if we don't change these pensions, you're not going to collect them. That's the truth. And the fact is that for each and very one of you, you may hate me now, but 10 years from now, after I've made the changes that need to be made and you're collecting your pension, you'll be looking for my address on the Internet to send me a thank-you note for saving the retirement for you and your families.'
"The amazing thing that happened was that after I was done with those remarks and I ended — six minutes, seven minutes tops — I walked off the stage, and two-thirds of the audience was cheering."
"A little over a year ago, the NRA offered a simple, honest and effective proposal to make our schools safer. The political and media elites responded by calling me just about every nasty name in the book. You remember. But Americans responded differently. In city after county after school board after statehouse, teachers, parents, police and legislators agreed with us and put armed security safeguards in place.
"History has proven again the truth that President Obama and anti-freedom activists everywhere deny and try to suppress — the truth that firearms in the hands of good people save lives. The political elites can't escape and the darlings of the liberal media can't change the God-given right of good people to protect themselves. For that fundamental human right, the NRA stands unflinching and unapologetic. And in defense of our freedom, NRA's 5 million members and America's 100 million gun owners will not back down — not now, not ever!"
"You know, I just left Trump National Doral in Miami. Great place. I just spent $250 million rebuilding it, making it the best resort in the country. I saw
On Friday, CPAC will hear from Texas Gov.