Opinion: Guest blogger John Phillips’ CPAC recap: A faux Sarah Palin, a faux blogger and an infectious handshake


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As Friday readers know, The Ticket invited popular Los Angeles talk-show host John Phillips to guest-blog on his impressions of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this past weekend.

The annual gathering draws conservatives from across the country, including many seen as possible presidential candidates someday.


Here’s Phillips’ first report right X. His second report is below. Given reader response, we’ll try to lure him back. Meanwhile, scroll down to hear him every weeknight on-air and online.

With 10,999 conservatives and Mitt Romney in the same hotel at the same time, you’re quickly reminded that the Republican Party is the ‘law and order’ party. It’s not just Arizona where conservatives demand to see your papers, it’s the DC Marriott too. Most attendees had all the right papers. Too bad for N.Y. Times columnist Maureen Dowd that she didn’t.

Ms. Dowd was cleared to work in the tiny, overcrowded, poorly equipped ‘Media’ room. But didn’t have permission for the large, lavish, candy-filled ‘Blogger’ room. And Big D clearly wanted those Kit Kats.

Needless to say, there was an incident. Forbidden entry, she dropped the celebrity nuclear bomb, demanding to know, “Do you know who I am?”

As it turns out, the lady with the clipboard did know who she was. She was a woman who wasn’t getting into the ‘Blogger’ room. -30-

If the surprise guest on Day 1 of CPAC was Donald Trump, the sensation on Day 2 was New York’s recent gubernatorial nominee from The Rent Is Too Damn High Party, Jimmy McMillan. He was such a hit that even Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann had her picture snapped with him.

But that wasn’t the biggest Kodak moment of Mr. McMillan’s trip to CPAC. That came when he held an impromptu press conference with Patti Lyons, better known as the world’s foremost Sarah Palin impersonator.

As the Ebony and Ivory of the right-wing world held court, Jimmy McMillan repeatedly...


...chanted, ‘The rent is too damn high!’ with the faux Palin responding, ‘The deficit is too damn high!’ It couldn’t have been more of a circus unless Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was shot out of a cannon. (Which he wasn’t.)

McMillan wasn’t just here for the pictures. He used CPAC as a forum to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. Although he’ll have to bone up on his competition. When I interviewed him for my radio show on KABC AM 790, I asked what he thought of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. McMillan replied: “Who? I’ve never heard of him. Who’s that?”

But when I asked him who he wants as his running mate, he said he was considering Sarah Palin, Jesse Ventura and maybe even that ‘Mitt Rombley’ guy.

Speaking of Mittens, I have an embarrassing confession to make: I may have given Mitt Romney some kind of skin disease. It’s not as hard to pack as NRA cowboy hats or Ron Paul foam fingers, but not exactly the souvenir you want to bring home from CPAC.

Here’s how it happened; While walking to lunch with my producer, Nathan Baker, we were stopped by a PR guy pitching one of his clients. At the end of the pitch he extended his hand for a long, strong, manly handshake. As soon as we were out of earshot, Nathan told me that we had to find a bathroom to wash our hands immediately, because the guy had a huge sore on his lip. As a raging hypochondriac, I quickly agreed.

Unfortunately for the guv, we stumbled upon him in between our encounter with ‘Patient A’ and the bathroom. Mitt went for the obligatory handshake. Forgetting about my possible infection, I shook back. About 10 seconds later I realized that I may have just given the GOP 2012 front-runner something.

Now, I’m sure this isn’t the first time a politician has been exposed at a political conference. (In fact, their aides carry sanitizers for just such occasions.) But it might be the first time it’s happened on a street corner with his wife standing there. And I’m deeply sorry.

But Romney also left CPAC second place in its meaningless 2011straw poll. Second place is actually more important, because teen heartthrob and star of Bruno, Texas, Rep. Ron Paul wins every year.

Paul was the belle of the ball, but his celebration didn’t last long. Immediately after being declared the winner, Jordan Marks, the senior national director of the Young Americans for Freedom, issued a news release declaring, “Rep. Paul is clearly off his meds and must be purged from public office.... YAF is starting the process by removing him from our National Advisory Board. Good riddance and he won’t be missed.”


Related Item:

Speaker John Boehner tells CPAC of need to cut federal spending

-- John Phillips

Strangely enough, a man named John Phillips hosts “The John Phillips Show” on Talk Radio 790 KABC in Los Angeles, which can be heard weeknights from 6 to 10 p.m. Pacific time. Outside Southern California, his show is available live online at Also follow Phillips on Twitter @JohnnyDontLike

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Photo credits: Cliff Owen / Associated Press (newly elected Florida Republican Rep. Allen West addresses CPAC); Nathan Baker (McMillan and Lyons).