Romney Leads Among Republican Leaders

Chris Cillizza, from the “The Fix“, ranked Mitt Romney as the the most influential voice within the Republican party. Here is what he had to say about Mitt’s recent activities:

Mitt Romney gave a command[ing] performance at CPAC — delivering a solid speech aimed at establishing himself as the de facto leader of the party and offering a detailed critique of the Obama Administration and its policies. And, his decision to put Matt Rhoades, communications director of his 2008 presidential bid, in charge of his Free and Strong America PAC was a savvy move that won him kudos among party insiders. Romney appears far more at ease in this race than he did in 2008; he knows who he is and what he can (and can’t) do — a very important quality in politics.

Here is the full list of those that made the top ten:
1. Mitt Romney 2. Haley Barbour 3. Sarah Palin 4. Tim Pawlenty 5. John Cornyn 6. Scott Brown 7. Marco Rubio 8. Newt Gingrich 8. Mitch Daniels 10. John Thune

The top five are pictured up above in order of rank.

Race to Socialist Health Care? Summit Summary: Act Now

Like a pork-loaded bobsled whooshing headlong into Vancouver’s formidable, icy, Olympic track, Thursday’s Health Care Summit has come… and gone. Post-race analysis shows Democrats had planned a performance they felt would be a clean run to the finish. Their strategy was to convince American spectators that their Republican counterparts are naïve, obstructionist lightweights — incapable of steering and unable to stay on track. But, when the starting bell sounded, after having been ignored for a year, Republicans’ 12 months of health care preparation gave them the lead from the beginning. Sharp and concise, Republicans cleanly navigated the far-less-speaking-time-than-Democrat bumps, the repeated interruption jolts, and the arrogant we’re-close-to-agreement Team Obama talking twists with sensible health care solutions and end-game focus.

Four minute ‘instant replay’ highlights of seven hour Health Care Summit:

The Sham Summit:

House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel and other Democrats argued at the health care summit that the two parties were close to agreement….

Thursday’s much-hyped health “summit” seemed mainly designed to show the president telling Republicans, “Those are all legitimate points.” Democrats admit it was a setup to pass their $2 trillion plan.

Not long before the president assembled Democrats and Republicans at the Garden Room of Blair House for a health care powwow, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., let it all hang out on the House floor, roaring that “every single Republican I have ever met in my entire life is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry.”

Civility was the cool thing during the grand gathering, but the real purpose behind this televised event was cutthroat.

A Politico story by Mike Allen made that clear, reporting that according to a Democratic official the summit was meant to “give a face to gridlock, in the form of House and Senate Republicans.”

Democratic Party strategists told the Web-based publication that the push will begin early next week for “a massive, Democrats-only health care plan.” The official said of the summit’s purpose: “The point is to alter the political atmospherics.”

Clearly, while the public face with the C-SPAN cameras on is the president’s soft-spoken “those are all reasonable points,” the unseen reality is closer to the partisan rants of Rep. Weiner.

Again and again, Democratic participants insisted that “we’re really not that far apart,” “we really are close” and “we basically agree” except for “semantic differences.” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., whose trouble with numbers extends to his own tax returns and whose airtime was buried toward the end of the event, absurdly claimed that there was 70% agreement between Democrats and Republicans.

When Republicans respectfully objected, with factual backup, that the differences were actually basic, relating to government vs. individual control, they were curtly accused of rattling off political “talking points” by the president.

A perfect example of the trickery was the president’s seeming willingness to agree to let consumers buy health insurance across state lines — maybe after his national health insurance exchange is established. The continual theme: Let the federal government intrude, then we can talk.

What we can expect now is the possibility of a modest increase in the dismal approval ratings of the Democrats’ plan — almost inevitable after such a big media event. We’ll also likely be told that the Democratic plan incorporates lots of Republican ideas — though it doesn’t. All this will provide cover for Democrats to push hard to enact ObamaCare through the misuse of the budget reconciliation process, requiring only 50 votes in the Senate.

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ): “Obama consumed more time than all the Republicans combined or all the Democrats combined” and just wanted Republicans to “start with his 2700 page bill and tweak it.”

Rep John Boehner (R-OH) responds to the Health Care Summit:

After the conclusion of yesterday’s nationally-televised health care “summit” hosted by President Obama, in a video for YouTube’s Citizen Tube I answered five health care questions submitted and voted on by the You Tube community. The questions posed on You Tube are the same questions and concerns I hear from Americans across the country. They want to us scrap the current bill and start over with common-sense, step-by-step measures that lower health care costs. And they want to know why Congress insists on passing massive bills that no one in America has time to read or understand. My Republican colleagues and I agree a different approach is needed – not just to health care reform, but to the way Congress works on every issue.

When the summit blur ended, Team-Captain-in-Chief Obama issued a ‘smack-down’ to Republicans. Either the GOP offers ‘real’ compromises on the government take-over health care plan within 4-6 weeks, or Democrats will cram the finest health care system in the world into ‘Sled Reconciliation’ and send it zooming helter-skelter to the socialist finish line.

TAKE ACTION! We must spare no effort to tell those who would vote for this bill, or reconciliation, that we will donate money to their 2010 opponent and work tirelessly in their district to defeat them. For all details on who to contact and why, go here.

Can Mitt Romney Save America? Review: Romney’s New Book

Want to read one of the first reviews offered on Mitt Romney’s highly anticipated new political book? James R. Holland handily summarizes Romney’s instructive, solution-based reader: No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. Holland reveals that Romney offers ‘pretty decent’ solutions to today’s problems and is surprised by personal stories that evoked a few tears. Romney will be making the rounds on NBC’s “Today” show, ABC’s “The View”, Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” program, and CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” on March 2nd, the day of No Apology’s debut. If you haven’t pre-ordered your book, better hurry!

Can Mitt Romney Save America?

The answer to that question is why most readers will bother buying, borrowing or reading this book by the former Massachusetts Governor and 2008 Presidential primary candidate. In this time of national and international recession, the voters and affected non-voters around the world are looking for a leader who can actually solve the major emergencies facing America, freedom and capitalism itself.

As the son of a third generation American Immigrant whose family was run out of Mexico by Mexican revolutionaries angry with American expatriates, Mitt grew up as part of a family that worked themselves up from desperate poverty to live the American Dream. His father worked as a wall plasterer while he supported his family and worked his way through college. He eventually earned his way into the presidency of American Motor Corporation (AMC) and bet his house (or at least the money he’d made from selling his home) on the successful development of the Rambler compact car. He later became three-time governor of Michigan.

Mitt grew up in a family that had strong core values and he discusses those core values throughout this book. This reviewer actually met most of Mitt’s family including Gov. George Romney when Mitt ran an unsuccessful campaign for Senate in Massachusetts. The whole family was part of that campaign and the lessons they learned with that loss served Mitt well a few years later when he successfully won election for the Governorship of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Romney managed to do a good job managing that state even though he didn’t have enough Republican legislative votes to uphold a veto and therefore had to reach across the aisle to the Democrats controlling the State House in order to accomplish his agenda.

Romney believes that if America becomes a victim of socialism that freedom throughout the world will be lost. If the nation is not careful, it will become a second rate world country-still strong enough to survive, but not strong enough to defend freedom anywhere else in the world.

“There are three pillars that sustain a free and strong America:

l. A Strong Economy

2. A Strong Military

3. A free and Strong People.”

Romney then provides an agenda for a free and strong America. His list of goals includes 64 separate items and even Romney admits that his is not a complete list of changes needed. Studying that agenda will provide the reader with a decent idea of how Romney would tackle the nation’s problems.

The book’s second chapter “Why Nations Decline” is also instructive.

The book examines many of the reasons for today’s problems and provides some pretty decent ideas about how to solve them. Romney also describes why many people prefer to live in denial of the facts and why in past civilizations that failure to face undeniable facts led to the destruction of those great civilizations.

In the book’s eleventh and last chapter this reader was surprised by some personal stories that brought tears to my eyes. Since I was reading while seated at the Prudential Center Food Court Terrace, it was a little embarrassing to suddenly find my eyes tearing up and salty streams trickling down my cheeks. That anything in this volume might require having tissues available was a total shock. Surprise, surprise, because the previous 99% of the book had been straight-forward logic and business-like explanations of Romney’s beliefs and ideas on how to solve the nation’s rapidly expanding and very dangerous problems, this ability to bring forth tears in an audience was enlightening.

… The man obvious isn’t just a cool-headed, unflappable, maybe sometimes seemingly unfeeling man; he is an experienced leader and is well schooled in the workings of Capitalism, industrial production and job producing economics. He is also amazingly well spoken and as Bostonians know, he used to sometimes substitute as a host on a popular conservative talk show in order to keep in touch with the Massachusetts public. He wasn’t afraid to talk to the general public, but he relished the opportunity that only talk radio provides for contact with typical voters. He loved that form of give and take communication.

This is a good read for this political genre. It will provide the information that many people will need to decide if years of leadership experience should triumph over hope.

Read more here.

Romney reads from No Apology: The Case for American Greatness

Mitt Romney Endorses John McCain: A Broader View

24 hours have passed since news was released of Mitt Romney’s endorsement of John McCain for re-election to the United States Senate. Opinions vary as to why this decision was made. Looking at a broader view for America’s future, Romney weighed the potential outcome of the Arizona senatorial election. There were many considerations pro and con, but in the end, Romney chose strength for the United States military and a strong national security. The need for McCain’s gravitas and experienced, respected, powerful influence on national security matters point to Romney’s core belief that keeping Americans safe trumps all.

John McCain press release yesterday:

PHOENIX, AZ – U.S. Senator John McCain’s re-election campaign today announced that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has endorsed Senator John McCain for re-election to the United States Senate.

Governor Romney today issued the following statement:

“For years, I’ve been an admirer of John McCain. Then we became competitors. Today, I’m proud to call him my friend.

“In my view, it’s hard to imagine the United States Senate without John McCain, especially in the critical times we find ourselves in, with double-digit unemployment, a mountain of debt imperiling future generations and a global terrorist threat from jihadists bent on destroying our very way of life.

“It is times like these that we look to leaders of character. Senator McCain’s record of service and sacrifice for America is honored by all. But I believe that it is his core values of courage, faith and honor – forged in battle and confirmed by a lifetime of service to America – that make Senator McCain’s leadership in the United States Senate so necessary in these perilous times. Not only am I proud to call him a friend, but as an American I am constantly reassured by Senator McCain’s continued involvement in the affairs of our nation, and I am honored to support him.”

“Governor Romney is among the brightest and most dynamic leaders in our Party, and I am proud to have his support,” said Senator John McCain. “I look forward to working with him to advance our shared vision for a stronger, safer and more prosperous America.”

Thoughts on Romney’s endorsement of McCain:

Newsweek - Katie Connolly

After gracefully exiting the presidential campaign, Romney became a cheerful warrior for McCain. He logged countless hours fundraising for his onetime opponent and appeared on the senator’s behalf almost anywhere the campaign asked, including at the Democratic National Convention. His competence and dedication won him begrudging fans among McCain’s senior staff, who later freely admitted they’d misjudged him. McCain himself was deeply appreciative of Romney’s work, and was won over personally after spending time with Romney and his gracious wife, Ann, at the senator’s Sedona ranch. Romney ended up in serious contention for McCain’s VP slot, and as the financial crisis took over the agenda, he became one of McCain’s valued go-to sources of advice and perspective on economic issues.

So perhaps the news of Romney’s endorsement isn’t all that surprising. It’s good for McCain to have someone with Romney’s financial expertise and centrist appeal come out in his favor. It also helps McCain to appear connected with someone considered part the GOP’s future. The question for Romney, who’s emerging as the GOP’s most serious contender for 2012, is, what’s in it for him? For starters, a friendship with McCain has lots of benefits. McCain is still an excellent drawing card for fundraisers, and although Romney has vast personal wealth, having a name like McCain on board makes a big difference. McCain could also lend a Romney candidacy some foreign-policy and national-security credibility, particularly with Republican voters. Romney lacks it; McCain has it in spades. And McCain has always been popular in New Hampshire, a critical early state.

The move fits nicely with Romney’s apparent strategy. My Gaggle pal Andrew Romano calls it the “adult in the room” approach. Unlike some of his potential opponents, Romney is incredibly strategic about his public appearances. He doesn’t weigh in on every news cycle. He gives selective interviews to drive home messages on the key issues facing the Obama administration: the economy, national security, the auto bailout, and health care. But we don’t see his perfect coif on TV every day, and he’s not racking up a litany of quotes he’ll later wish he never said. Instead, he’s using the George Costanza approach: end on a high note and leave them wanting more. Next week he begins a national tour for his new book, which is touted as a “blueprint for maintaining America’s global leadership.” Advisers say he’ll offer a serious, intellectual analysis of America’s place in the world.

North Star National - Dan Calabrese:

I bet John McCain thought, when he won the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, he was playing the most pivotal role he would ever play in the party. Apparently that was not the case. He now has an even more pivotal role. McCain has become a walking conservative litmus test.

The conservative base at the moment is on a mission to rid the party of so-called RINOs, and McCain is the poster boy for their ire. This is not without some justification. McCain’s past support for free-speech-restricting campaign finance reform, his opposition to the Bush tax cuts and his blocking of a Republican attempt to end Senate filibusters against Bush judicial nominees deserved the criticism they received.

But if you’re a philosophical conservative, and your goal is to get policies enacted that are most crucial to the nation from the conservative point of view, it doesn’t necessarily stand to reason that the best way to do it is to toss out every RINO in a primary and replace him with a so-called “true conservative.”

Relax, ‘true conservatives’: There’s a good case to be made for Romney and Palin (and you) backing McCain:

On national security, McCain has always backed, and proposed during his presidential campaign, the very strategy most conservatives believe Obama has erred by not pursuing. If McCain were president, we would still be putting a missile shield in Eastern Europe. We would be taking a hard line on Iran. We would not be bending over to let the Taliban back into the political process in Afghanistan.

On health care, McCain has been a consistent and effective voice against Obama’s proposals throughout the past year, and his own proposals in 2008 would have moved the nation toward the sort of consumer-directed system we need, not the sort of top-down system we already have, and that Obama would make worse.

- Because of his seniority and standing with the media, McCain can be an effective voice for the conservative positions on the above-mentioned issues. Many conservatives have criticized McCain for making too nice with the media over the years, and not without some justification, but at this particular point in time his having done so can come in very handy. It’s precisely because they do regard him as something other than a blustering partisan that his criticisms of Obama carry weight and get air time.

- J.D. Hayworth shows signs of not being a serious person. His big-spending, earmarking track record, we’ve already covered. His past ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff should give any one concerned about ideological principle serious pause.

Surely there are plenty of reasons for conservatives to be upset with McCain about his past track record. But no election held in 2010 is for the purpose of repeating the past. It’s to put the best people in place to make the best decisions for the nation going forward.

Whatever his faults on other issues, McCain is for the right things on spending, health care and national security. His seniority and bipartisan credibility put him in a good position to advocate effectively for these things. And it just might be that, while Hayworth could make the case that he is the “true conservative,” Palin and Romney recognize the results for the nation – from a conservative point of view – might very well be better if McCain is the guy Arizona sends back to the Senate to get them done.

What good does it do to elect a “true conservative” if he can’t achieve what conservatives think is important?

Evangelicals for Mitt - David French:

The definition of “RINO” is not “any politician who deviates in any material respect from conservative principles.” A RINO is someone who deviates in virtually every material respect. In fact, when it comes to national security, most social issues, most economic issues, judges, and many other areas, McCain is one of us. I’m not sure that our goal as a conservative community is to simply support the most conservative candidate in any given primary. There’s a lot more to effective leadership than ideology, and such a mindset encourages the rather unpleasant ideological puritans in our midst.

(emphasis mine)

Mitt Romney 2012

3-8-10 UPDATE by Ross:

Ron Paul Wins CPAC? Fox News Releases Winner before CPAC?

I’m a little perturbed that FOX News released the results of the poll before it was announced before at CPAC. It came up on twitter almost a full 10 minutes before the actual announcement.

CPAC attendees have spoken and have chosen RON PAUL for their preference for the GOP nomination in 2012? Romney had won the contest in 2009, 2008, and 2007 (click here for results for all three years). The straw poll was open all Thursday and closed at 1:00 on Friday. This year is said to be different from previous years as there has not been much push or buzz to win the poll, though it’s obvious the Campaign for Liberty had their eye on the prize. Congratulations to Ron Paul and all of his supporters! We’ll see ya’ll again next year!

ron paul wins cpac

Here are the results:
Ron Paul 31%
Romney 22%
Palin 7%
Pawlenty 6%
Pence 5%
Gingrich 4%

This is the order of the candidates as it appeared on the CPAC 2010 ballot:
Haley Barbour
Mitch Daniels
Newt Gingrich
Mike Huckabee
Sarah Palin
Ron Paul
Tim Pawlenty
Mike Pence
Mitt Romney
Rick Santorum
John Thune
Other (write in)

~Nate Gunderson

Full List of Romney's Book Tour Dates and Locations

Map of Romney’s Book Tour Dates

For more information about Mitt Romney’s new book and accompanying tour click here. If you plan on attending please join the Facebook event page.

Google Map of Romney’s Book Tour Dates

View Romney’s Book Tour in a larger map

If you would like to share this map here is the link:

CPAC 2010 - Day 1 Recap

cpac crowdNow that I’ve recovered somewhat from sleep deprivation and finally feel comfortable with the overwhelming environment of CPAC - with its multiple events and appearances by conservative leaders - I’m feeling I can relax, sit down, and focus on some blogging. Unfortunately, I’ve got a whole day’s worth to catch up, while juggling all of today’s events.

For a newcomer, having various politicians constantly present throughout the day is exhilarating. The day began with Jim DeMint introducing Marco Rubio. After Rubio’s speech, DeMint also gave follow-up comments. I was greatly anticipating hearing Rubio but was detained in the long line to obtain credentials. I’ve heard that his speech was great. I certainly enjoyed Demint’s follow-up comments. DeMint clarified his controversial statement (which he took a lot of fire for): “I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.” DeMint stated that he would rather have 30 Marco Rubios than 60 Arlen Specters.

A short while later, I recognized Mike Lee (from my home county) who is running against Bob Bennett (R-Utah) for his senate seat. I was eager to see someone from my home state, so I introduced myself and chatted for a bit with Lee and two of his staff. While I was still pondering the oddity of seeing someone from back home, I walked into the hall and saw Utah Rep. Rob Bishop (1st) being interviewed by Moe Lane of RedState. I waited. After his interview, I introduced myself and we talked as he and a staffer found their way back to the main floor. Bishop mentioned that Utah should be getting a 4th seat in the House soon. I asked him about the process of drawing the boundary lines for the districts and about what we might do to win the 2nd back for the Republicans. He seemed optimistic that Utah might soon have four GOP Reps.

cpac hoffmanDoug Hoffman, from the narrowly lost NY-23 race, was also in the hall (he was to speak later in the evening during the dinner ball). He will be running again for the seat in November (the special election was only to finish out the term). He will be running on the Conservative party ticket, but is very likely to earn the backing of much of the Republican party as well. He’s a very genuine and ‘smiley’ guy. Hoffman seemed quite pleased that I recognized him.

In the afternoon, we were enlightened with Leader Boehner (who I thought did quite well), and Wayne LaPierre from the NRA. LaPierre had an extremely well prepared presentation which included lots of video showing liberal attacks against gun owners and their rights.

I took some time later to walk through the co-sponsors’ Exhibition Hall, walked by ‘Radio Row’, and generally strolled the grounds. This hotel is HUGE and has numerous conference room, ballrooms, halls, etc. Spread over several floors, it’s quite a maze!

cpac sarah huckabeeLater in the evening, I went to the XPAC lounge for the free food (insert smiley face!) and stayed to see Stephen Baldwin moderate a little Q&A with Andrea Tantaros and Sarah Huckabee, daughter of, and campaign manager for, Governor Mike Huckabee. The prepared questions for them were very odd: How has sexism affected your career? What effect would a potential Sarah Palin race vs. Hillary Clinton in 2012 have on women’s role in politics? I think the second question wasn’t a very fair question to ask Sarah H. given the possibility of her Dad running in 2012. One funny thing - I was standing near a small table, finishing my food (before the Q&A), when Sarah H. walked up, set down her bag, and joined me at the table - while she was prepping. Surprised to suddenly see her and recognize her, I congratulated her on her upcoming wedding in the Virgin Islands. Surprise lit up her face as she replied, “Wow, news spreads fast.”

Besides Governor Romney’s speech, the clear highlight of the day was the surprise appearance of Vice-President Dick Cheney. While typing away, I was vaguely listening to Liz Cheney’s speech when suddenly the lounge BURST into cheers. Some folks got up and ran out of the lounge onto the balcony of the main ballroom. Cheney entered to thunderous applause, to which he warmly responded, “A welcome like that almost makes me feel like running for office again… But I’m notta gonna do it.”

But Nate, what about Romney’s speech?
It was awesome. So awesome that I’m going to write more about it in a separate post (hopefully later tonight). Just a pre-cap: It was second best speech I’ve ever heard him give; second only to his Faith in America speech. They are very different speeches -given under different circumstances - and comparing them is akin to analyzing remarks given in a class reunion setting as opposed to a court room setting.

Now, with multiple interruptions, I’ve finally finished my rough draft and I’m just going to publish. I will re-read and add photos as I’m able. Otherwise, I’ll never get this post off. So much for being able to focus!

~Nate G.

Mitt Romney in Michigan Speaks on the Auto Industry, the Governor’s Race, and to the New Eagle Scouts

Yesterday was a busy day for Gov. Romney. He delivered a great speech to CPAC, but that wasn’t all. As soon as the speech was over, he rushed to the airport and got on a plane to Michigan where he was the keynote speaker at the 100th Anniversary - Building Character Celebration for the new Eagle Scouts. “I’m convinced that if Boy Scouts were running things here in Michigan, you’d be a lot better off,” Romney said to hefty applause.

Mitt at the Boy Scouts of America 100th Anniversary Dinner

Mitt also gave an interview to the Detroit News where he answered questions on Obama’s first stimulus bill, the Tea-Party movement, his recent plane incident, the Christmas Day bombing attempt, Afghanistan, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Michigan’s 2010 Gubernatorial Race, and the Supreme Court.

If you think that was a busy day for Gov. Romney, just look at his upcoming schedule. Mitt is hosting a fundraiser for Sen. John Thune today, is speaking on numerous conferences in the upcoming months, has an upcoming book tour, and will undoubtedly be campaigning for numerous 2010 candidates all over the country.

UPDATE: Romney stumps for Thune

VIDEO: Mitt Romney’s CPAC Speech + Scott Brown’s Introduction

Mitt Romney’s speech brought viewers to their feet many times this afternoon at CPAC. It was truly inspirational. Divided into four segments, the video footage of Mitt’s speech is posted below. Included is a short introduction by Senator Scott Brown (he had very kind words to say about Mitt).

Be sure you bookmark this, as it will be neat to come back often and refresh your memory of why this man needs to be the next President of the United States:

Scott Brown Introduces Mitt Romney at CPAC

Mitt Romney’s Speech at CPAC 2/18/2010 (PART 1)

Mitt Romney’s Speech at CPAC 2/18/2010 (PART 2)

Mitt Romney’s Speech at CPAC 2/18/2010 (PART 3)

Governor Romney’s Remarks to CPAC 2010

Feb 18, 2022

Thank you to Jay and to Scott for those generous introductions. Both these men have made real contributions to our nation. It’s good to be back at CPAC. I can’t think of an audience I’d rather be addressing today.

I spent the weekend in Vancouver. As always, the Olympic Games were inspiring. But in case you didn’t hear the late-breaking news, the gold medal in the downhill was taken away from American Lindsey Vonn. It was determined that President Obama is going downhill faster than she is.

I’m not telling you something you don’t know when I say that our conservative movement took a real hit in the 2008 elections. The victors were not exactly gracious in their big win: Media legs were tingling. Time Magazine’s cover pictured the Republican elephant and declared it an endangered species. The new president himself promised change of biblical proportion. And given his filibuster-proof Senate and lopsided House, he had everything he needed to deliver it.

They won, we lost. But you know, you learn a lot about people when you see how they react to losing. We didn’t serve up excuses or blame our fellow citizens. Instead, we listened to the American people, we sharpened our thinking and our arguments, we spoke with greater persuasiveness, we took our message to more journals and airwaves, and in the American tradition, some even brought attention to our cause with rallies and Tea parties.

I know that most of you have watched intently as the conservative comeback began in Virginia and exploded onto the scene in New Jersey. But as a Massachusetts man, who, like my fellow Bay-staters, has over the years, been understandably regarded somewhat suspiciously in gatherings like this, let me take just a moment to exalt in a Scott Brown victory!

For that victory that stopped Obama–care and turned back the Reid-Pelosi liberal tide, we have something to that you’d never think you’d hear at CPAC, “Thank you Massachusetts!”

2009 was the President’s turn to suffer losses, and not just at the ballot box, but also in bill after bill in Congress, and most importantly, in his failure to reignite the economy. In how he has responded to these defeats, too, we have learned a great about him and about his team.

He began by claiming that he had not failed at all. Remember the B+ grade he gave himself for his first year? Tell that to the 4 million Americans who lost their jobs last year, and to the millions more who stopped looking. Explain that to the world’s financial markets who gaped at trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. Square that with the absence of any meaningful sanctions against Iran even as it funds terror and races to become a nuclear nation. President Obama’s self-proclaimed B+ will go down in history as the biggest exaggeration since Al Gore’s invention of the internet!

Unable to convince us that his failure was a success, he turned to the second dodge of losing teams: try to pin the blame on someone else. Did you see his State of the Union address? First, he took on the one group in the room that was restrained from responding—the Supreme Court. The President found it inexplicable that the first amendment right of free speech should be guaranteed not just to labor union corporations and media corporations, but equally to all corporations, big and small. When it was all over, I think most Americans felt as I did: his noisy critique and bombast did not register as clear and convincingly as Justice Alito’s silent lips forming these words: “Not true!”

Next he blamed the Republicans in the room, condescending to lecture them on the workings of the budget process, a process many of them had in fact mastered while he was still at Harvard Law School. He blamed Republicans for the gridlock that has blocked his favorite legislation; but he knows as well as we do that he did not need one single solitary Republican vote in either house to pass his legislation. It was Democrats who blocked him, Democrats who said “no” to his liberal agenda after they had been home to their districts and heard from the American people. As Everett Dirksen used to say, “When they felt the heat, they saw the light.” God bless every American who said no!

Of course, the President accuses us of being the party of “no.” It’s as if he thinks that saying “no” is by definition a bad thing. In fact, it is right and praiseworthy to say no to bad things. It is right to say no to cap and trade, no to card check, no to government healthcare, and no to higher taxes. My party should never be a rubber stamp for rubber check spending.

But before we move away from this “no” epithet the Democrats are fond of applying to us, let’s ask the Obama folks why they say “no” -no to a balanced budget, no to reforming entitlements, no to malpractice reform, no to missile defense In Eastern Europe, no to prosecuting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a military tribunal, and no to tax cuts that create new jobs. You see, we conservatives don’t have a corner on saying no; we’re just the ones who say it when that’s the right thing to do!

And that leads us to who he has most recently charged with culpability for his failures: the American people. It seems that we have failed to understand his wise plans for us. If he just slows down, he reasons, and makes a concerted effort to explain Obama-care in a way even we can understand, if we just listen better, then we will get it.

Actually, Americans have been listening quite attentively. And they have been watching. When he barred CSPAN from covering the healthcare deliberations, they saw President Obama break his promise of transparency. When the Democrat leadership was empowered to bribe Nebraska’s Senator Nelson, they saw President Obama break his promise of a new kind of politics in Washington. And when he cut a special and certainly unconstitutional healthcare deal with the unions, they saw him not just break his promise, they saw the most blatant and reprehensible manifestation of political payoff in modern memory. No, Mr. President, the American people didn’t hear and see too little, they saw too much!

Here again, with all due respect, President Obama fails to understand America. He said: “With all the lobbying and horse-trading, the process left most Americans wondering, ‘What’s in it for me?’” That’s not at all what they were asking. They were asking: “What’s in it for America?”

America will not endure government run healthcare, a new and expansive entitlement, an inexplicable and surely vanishing cut in Medicare and an even greater burden of taxes. Americans said no because Obama-care is bad care for America!

When it comes to shifting responsibility for failure, however, no one is a more frequent object of President Obama’s reproach than President Bush. It’s wearing so thin that even the late night shows make fun of it. I am convinced that history will judge President Bush far more kindly—he pulled us from a deepening recession following the attack of 9-11, he overcame teachers unions to test school children and evaluate schools, he took down the Taliban, waged a war against the jihadists and was not afraid to call it what it is—a war, and he kept us safe. I respect his silence even in the face of the assaults on his record that come from this administration. But at the same time, I also respect the loyalty and indefatigable defense of truth that comes from our “I don’t give a damn” Vice President Dick Cheney!

I’m afraid that after all the finger pointing is finished, it has become clear who is responsible for President Obama’s lost year, the 10% unemployment year—President Obama and his fellow Democrats. So when it comes to pinning blame, pin the tail on the donkeys.

There’s a good deal of conjecture about the cause of President Obama’s failures. As he frequently reminds us, he assumed the presidency at a difficult time. That’s the reason we argued during the campaign that these were not the times for on the job training. Had he or his advisors spent even a few years in the real economy, they would have learned that the number one cause of failure in the private sector is lack of focus, and that the first rule of turning around any troubled enterprise is focus, focus, focus. And so, when he assumed the presidency, his energy should have been focused on fixing the economy and creating jobs, and to succeeding in our fight against radical violent jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, he applied his time and political capital to his ill-conceived healthcare takeover and to building his personal popularity in foreign countries. He failed to focus, and so he failed.

But there was an even bigger problem than lack of focus. Ronald Reagan used to say this about liberals: “It’s not that they’re ignorant, it’s that what they know is wrong.” Too often, when it came to what President Obama knew, he was wrong.

He correctly acknowledged that the government doesn’t create jobs, that only the private sector can do that. He said that the government can create the conditions, the environment, which leads the private sector to add employment. But consider not what he said, but what he did last year, and ask whether it helped or hurt the environment for investment, growth, and new jobs.

Announcing 2011 tax increases for individuals and businesses and for capital gains, hurt.

Passing cap and trade, hurt.

Giving trial lawyers a free pass, hurt.

Proposing card check to eliminate secret ballots in union elections, hurt.

Holding on to GM stock and insisting on calling the shots there, hurt.

Making a grab for healthcare, almost 1/5th of our economy, hurt.

Budgeting government deficits in the trillions, hurt.

And scapegoating and demonizing businesspeople, hurt.

President Obama instituted the most anti-growth, anti-investment, anti-jobs measures we’ve seen in our lifetimes. He called his agenda ambitious. I call it reckless. He scared employers, so jobs were scarce. His nearly trillion dollar stimulus created not one net new job in the private sector, but it saved and grew jobs in the government sector- the one place we should have shed jobs. And even today, because he has been unwilling or unable to define the road ahead, uncertainty and lack of predictability permeate the private economy, and prolongs its stall. America is not better off than it was 1.8 trillion dollars ago.

Will the economy and unemployment recover? Of course. Thanks to a vibrant and innovative citizenry, they always do. But this president will not deserve the credit he will undoubtedly claim. He has prolonged the recession, expanded the pain of unemployment, and added to the burden of debt we will leave future generations. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and their team have failed the American people, and that is why their majority will be out the door. Isn’t it fitting that so many of those who have contempt for the private sector will soon find themselves back in it?

The people of America are looking to conservatives for leadership, and we must not fail them.

Conservatism has had from its inception a vigorously positive, intellectually rigorous agenda. That agenda should have three pillars: strengthen the economy, strengthen our security, and strengthen our families.

We will strengthen the economy by simplifying and lowering taxes, by replacing outmoded regulation with modern, dynamic regulation, by opening markets to American goods, by strengthening our currency and our capital markets, and by investing in research and basic science. Instead of leading the world in how much we borrow, we will make sure that we lead the world in how much we build and create and invest.

We will strengthen our security by building missile defense, restoring our military might, and standing-by and strengthening our intelligence officers. And conservatives believe in providing constitutional rights to our citizens, not to enemy combatants like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed!

On our watch, the conversation with a would-be suicide bomber will not begin with the words, “You have the right to remain silent!”

Our conservative agenda strengthens our families in part by putting our schools on track to be the best in the world. Because great schools start with great teachers, we will insist on hiring teachers from the top third of college graduates, and we will give better teachers better pay. School accountability, school choice and cyber schools will be priorities. We will put parents and teachers back in charge of education, not the fat cat CEO’s of the teachers unions!

Strong families will have excellent healthcare. Getting healthcare coverage for the uninsured should be accomplished at the state level, not a one-size-fits all Pelosi plan. The right way to rein-in healthcare cost is not by making it more like the Post Office, it’s by making it more like a consumer-driven market. The answer for healthcare is market incentives not healthcare by a Godzilla-size government bureaucracy!

When it comes to our role in the world, our conservative agenda hews to the principles that have defined our nation’s foreign policy for over six decades: we will promote and defend the American ideals of political freedom, free enterprise, and human rights. We will stand with our allies, and confront those who threaten peace and destroy liberty.

There’s much more on our positive, intellectually rigorous conservative agenda. Not all of it is popular. But the American people have shown that they are ready for truth to trump hope. The truth is that government is not the solution to all our problems.

This year, I have taken the time to write a book that tells the truth about the challenges our nation faces, and about the conservative solutions needed to overcome them. I have titled it: No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. I’ve set up a booth outside so that you can buy a few hundred copies each. Well, maybe one or two.
Sometimes I wonder whether Washington’s liberal politicians understand the greatness of America. Let me explain why I say that.

At Christmas-time, I was in Wal-Mart to buy some toys for my grandkids. As I waited in the check-out line, I took a good look around the store. I thought to myself of the impact Sam Walton had on his company. Sam Walton was all about good value on everything the customer might want. And so is Wal-Mart: rock bottom prices and tens of thousands of items.

The impact that founders like Sam Walton have on their enterprises is actually quite remarkable. In many ways, Microsoft is a reflection of Bill Gates, just as Apple is of Steve Jobs. Disneyland is a permanent tribute to Walt Disney himself—imaginative and whimsical. Virgin Airlines is as irreverent and edgy as its founder. As you look around you, you see that people shape enterprises, sometimes for many years even after they are gone.

People shape businesses.

People shape countries.

America reflects the values of the people who first landed here, those who founded the nation, those who won our freedom, and those who made America the leader of the world.

America was discovered and settled by pioneers. Later, the founders launched an entirely new concept of nation, one where the people would be sovereign, not the king, not the state. And this would apply not just to government, but also to the American economy: the individual would pursue his or her happiness in freedom, independent from government dictate. Every American was free to be an inventor, an innovator, a founder. America became the land of opportunity and a nation of pioneers.

We attracted people of pioneering spirit from around the world. They came here for freedom and opportunity, knowing that the cost was incredibly high: leaving behind family and the familiar, learning a new language, often living at first in poverty, sometimes facing prejudice, working long and hard hours.

All of these pioneers built a nation of incomparable prosperity and unrivaled security.

After its founding, our national economy grew thanks to more pioneers—people like Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, William Procter and Robert Wood Johnson, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard and Thomas Watson. These are names we know—but the less well known are just as vital American innovators, and they number in the millions.

That American pioneering spirit is what propelled us to master the industrial age just as today we marshal the information age.

This course for America, chosen by the founders, has been settled for over 200 years. Ours is the creed of the pioneers, the innovators, the strivers who expect no guarantee of success, but ask only to live and work in freedom. This creed is under assault in Washington today. Liberals are convinced that government knows better than the people how to run our businesses, how to choose winning technologies, how to manage healthcare, how to grow an economy, and how to order our very lives. They want to gain through government takeover what they could never achieve in the competitive economy—power and control over the people of America. If these liberal neo-monarchists succeed, they will kill the very spirit that has built the nation—the innovating, inventing, creating, independent current that runs from coast to coast.

This is the liberal agenda for government. It does not encourage pioneers, inventors and investors—it suffocates them.
In a world where others have lost their liberty by trading it away for the false promises of the state, we choose to hold to our founding principles. We will stop these power-seekers where they stand. We will keep America, America, by retaining its character as the land of opportunity. We welcome the entrepreneur, the inventor, the innovator. We will insist on greatness from every one of our citizens, and rather than apologizing for who we are or for what we have accomplished, we will celebrate our nation’s strength and goodness. American patriots have defeated tyrants, liberated the oppressed, and rescued the afflicted. America’s model of innovation, capitalism and free enterprise has lifted literally billons of the world’s people out of poverty. America has been a force for good like no other in this world, and for that we make no apology.

Photos: Bowling with Mitt Romney and Scott Brown

I was not aware that Senator Scott Brown was going to be at the ‘Bowling w/ Mitt’ event, so that was a pleasant surprise. When I arrived (about 30 minutes late), even though Governor Romney was speaking passionately and had raised the volume of his voice so the crowd could hear him, I was boxed out of the crowd and could not hear what he was saying. A few minutes later, he introduced Senator Brown who also took a few minutes to speak. Approx 110 in attendance - a lot of people to fit in the small area that was reserved. I believe they expected a couple dozen less than that.

The bowling alley was dark, so it was a challenge to get good pictures with the slow shutter speed. Still, we have a few interesting shots.

Mitt Romney and Scott Brown Bowling

Click here to see all 14 pictures on our Facebook page!

~Nate G.

Addendum: Before the fundraiser Romney also stopped by the grounds at CPAC and said hi to the volunteers. Twitpic here. Story from Ambinder here.

UPDATE from Rebel Ross ~

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