OXON HILL, Md.--For the second year in a row, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky won the presidential straw poll at the annual gathering of conservatives known as CPAC -- this year leading his closest rival by 20 points.
The results were announced Saturday night as 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin closed out the Conservative Political Action Conference by arguing that an American "awakening" had begun due to the botched rollout of the President's healthcare law and what she called his "dopey wobbling on the world stage."
Though only about 2,500 attendees participated in the straw poll, they represent some of the most engaged activists within the Republican Party -- and will serve as the foot soldiers for the GOP in the 2016 general election contest.
Paul, who has engaged legions of young supporters with his libertarian bent and his criticisms of the Obama administration's expansive electronic surveillance, won 31% of the vote. Tea Party darling Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas,...
OXON HILL, Md. — For an event remembered by its big statements — rabble-rousing speeches and students clad in American-flag shorts — this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference was nearly silent on same-sex marriage and other such issues.
But the low-key treatment spoke loudly about a growing tension between conservatives who want to raise the issue — most of them opposed to gay rights — and those who want to focus on other issues. In a bit of irony, a subject once effectively used by some Republicans against Democrats has now become something of a wedge issue within the Republican Party.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania spoke for those who want to highlight the issue, criticizing Republican leaders who claim they “have to win” by sacrificing traditional positions on social issues.
“They actually mean we have to lose,” Santorum said. “We have to lose those currently unfashionable stances on cultural and...
OXON HILL, Md. — For many of the 2016 presidential contenders who tested their messages at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine offered the perfect opening to pound President Obama’s approach to foreign policy as weak and feckless — a sign of dimming U.S. influence around the world.
But Rand Paul, whose non-interventionist foreign policy views have often been out of step with his rivals, did not mention Russia at all. And yet he blew the doors off Friday, drawing the most excited response of any potential contender as he blistered the Obama administration for its expansive surveillance of Americans and accused the president of trampling on civil liberties.
It was a reminder that while GOP foreign policy hawks are loud, they are not necessarily ascendant, particularly among the younger ranks of the party.
Paul angered conservative Christian groups last fall by suggesting that some allies...
WASHINGTON -- Members of the huge millennial generation are less religious, less likely to call themselves “patriotic” and significantly more liberal than older generations, new research shows.
Although adults aged 18-33 are much more likely to call themselves political independents than their elders are, they are also far more likely to vote Democratic. Their views favoring activist government, as well as their stands on social issues such as gay rights, reinforce that voting behavior, an extensive study by the Pew Research Center shows.
The youngest generation of adults, born after 1980, has the most optimism about the country. That comes despite the economic difficulties that a large share of them have experienced since entering the workforce. And it stands in contrast with some previous generations: Baby boomers, for example, born between 1946 and 1964, were less optimistic than their elders at this stage of their lives.
WASHINGTON — With their hopes for broad legislation to overhaul immigration policies all but dead for the year, advocates have turned quickly to a new target: Pushing President Obama to take executive action to ease deportations of immigrants in the country illegally.
In a coordinated, aggressive and sharp-elbowed campaign, leaders who stood behind the White House not long ago as the president called immigration reform his top second-term priority are now attacking Obama for not doing enough on his own. Dismissing Obama’s insistence that his hands are tied by the law, advocates plan to pile on until he relents -- as he did once before in the run-up to an election.
This week, the president of the National Council of La Raza, the country’s largest Latino advocacy organization and one of the White House’s most loyal allies, blasted Obama as the “deporter in chief.”
In remarks on the House floor, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Obama’s fellow Illinois...
WASHINGTON – The House Republican majority shot down a Democratic effort Thursday to condemn Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight committee, for the "disrespectful manner" in which he adjourned a hearing as the panel’s top Democrat was speaking.
[Updated, 10:36 p.m. PST March 6: Later, Issa said he had personally apologized to the Democratic lawmaker who was cut short during the hearing. "I just wanted to clear the air with @RepCummings," Issa said on Twitter, referring to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md).
He linked to an interview he gave to the San Diego Union-Tribune, in which he reported he had apologized to the lawmaker. "Mr. Cummings is a member of Congress who works very hard for his constituents," he said.
Issa called what happened at the hearing "an unfortunate incident" and said he should have handled the matter differently.
"I could have offered to reopen the hearing and allowed him to make a second statement," Issa told the paper. "As chairman, I...
WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Gil Kerlikowske on Thursday to be the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, allowing the White House "drug czar" to take on his new post overseeing the Border Patrol.
Kerlikowske came to the White House as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the job commonly known as “drug czar,” after serving as chief of police in Seattle from 2001 to 2009.
He will take over an organization under fire on several fronts, including secrecy surrounding incidents in which agents shot people suspected of throwing rocks at them from the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border. Lawmakers have criticized Customs and Border Protection officials for not fully disclosing when border agents are allowed to use deadly force, and what disciplinary actions, if any, have been taken against agents who violated existing policies.
During his confirmation hearing Jan. 15, Kerlikowske promised that if confirmed he would make the agency more...
WASHINGTON -- An ambitious proposal to stem the rising number of sexual assaults in the military was rejected Thursday after senators from both parties balked at limiting the role of commanding officers in deciding whether to prosecute.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) pushed the issue to prominence this session, arguing on behalf of victims within the military ranks. Many have testified that they feared retaliation if they took assault allegations up the chain of command. Her bill would have shifted investigations to military prosecutors.
Instead senators advanced a competing bill sponsored by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who argued on behalf of military brass that removing commanders from investigations would infringe on their ability to fully control troops. Her measure would allow alleged victims to choose whether commanders or military prosecutors would investigate.
The debate produced an emotional -- and rare -- scene Thursday in the Senate, as two of the chamber's top female...
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Before the bridge scandal unfolded in New Jersey, Chris Christie's biggest hurdle on the path to the 2016 Republican presidential nomination was his difficulty winning over core conservatives — the kind of activists who gathered here Thursday and who will dominate the early presidential contests.
The New Jersey governor was not even invited to the Conservative Political Action Conference last year because his record was viewed as insufficiently conservative. But in his address at this year's gathering, Christie drew a warm response by playing to his strengths with this crowd.
He touted his efforts to take on public employee unions in New Jersey and to lower state spending. He highlighted his stance as an anti-abortion governor in a blue state. And showing himself to be a good soldier for the party, he lavished praise on a number of his potential rivals as the leader of the Republican Governors Assn.
WASHINGTON -- President Obama insisted Thursday that he’s not the "deporter in chief," as critics have labeled him, but the "champion in chief" of a fairer immigration policy.
But until Congress passes a new law, Obama said, he is constrained by current statutes in how he treats immigrants who entered the country illegally.
“I cannot ignore those laws any more than I can ignore any of the other laws that are on the books,” Obama said. “That’s why it’s important to get comprehensive immigration reform done this year.”
Support for that view among reform advocates is splintering, a fact becoming clearer by the day. The president of the National Council of La Raza, the country’s largest Latino advocacy organization, this week coined the “deporter in chief” term for the Democratic president the group has worked with in the past.
Then Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Obama’s fellow Illinois Democrat, used the same phrase on the House...
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.--The potential choice facing voters in the next Republican presidential race was on full display Thursday at the kickoff of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, where Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan offered conservative activists their vision for the way forward.
In a polished speech, Cruz, the headline-grabbing Texas senator, offered his familiar call for conservatives to hold true to their principles at a time when liberty was "under assault." Republicans who've strayed from that course have failed to win for a reason, he said.
"You want to lose elections? Stand for nothing," Cruz said. "All of us remember President Dole and President McCain and President Romney. Those are good men. They are decent men. But when you don't stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don't stand for principle, Democrats celebrate."
He outlined a 10-point plan that he said conservatives can rally around, with items like defending the Constitution, boosting energy production,...