Thursday, February 10, 2011

CPAC! (Wednesday daytime notes)

I’m in Washington this week for the Conservative Political Action Conference ( It’s my first time at CPAC and so far I’m really enjoying my time here.

I received Official Blogger Credentials for CPAC, and I’m very excited about that. Met some really great people already.

The wireless internet connection is a little spotty in the “Blogger’s Lounge” but seems to be working now, so hopefully this will post ok.  I'm a little behind in getting this updated but will try to post as much as I can this afternoon.  Having trouble uploading pictures so I'm just posting links to my twitter pictures for now.  For more up-to-date info, check my twitter feed @rumpfshaker.

FYI, anyone interested in CPAC can watch live at

Some notes on my adventures from yesterday…

Yesterday, I spent some time on Capitol Hill with some other friends from Florida (Jason Hoyt and Kelly Kraiss). We visited the House and Senate office buildings and had the opportunity to speak with some great people.

Stopped by Daniel Webster's office in the Longworth Building to get House Gallery passes.  Got there in time to see Florida Congressional Members Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,Connie Mack, and David Rivera speak in favor of HR 519, a bill related to funding for the United Nations.  It's a somewhat complicated issue, but apparently we overpaid about $179 million in dues to the UN (huh? how does this happen?) and this was a bill to demand that back but it would have somehow affected funding dedicated to NYPD and Homeland Security efforts around the UN building.  The bill failed to pass.

It was very interesting to have a bird's eye view when the full House came in for the vote.  (The gallery seats are in a balcony that rings the room.) It's a sea of black and grey suits, so the women really stand out.  It was very easy to pick out Sandy Adams with her blond hair and red jacket.  If I were in Congress, I would definitely wear bright colors every day. The part in Paul Ryan's hair is easily visible from the gallery...maybe from space.  I don't know what products he uses in his hair, but it's pretty awesome.  Nancy Pelosi seems to be doing a little better at looking like a human being (better haircut) but she still looks like a Muppet to me (apologies to Jim Henson).  Webster was easy to pick out of the crowd too because he's so tall.  (Have I mentioned lately how happy I am to have a human being as a Congressman again?)

We then went back to the Congressional offices again and met with some of Marco Rubio's staffers in the Dirksen Senate building.  Rubio has really hired some sharp, top-notch people and they are clearly proud to be working for him.  They are stuck in a cramped little basement office for now until Rubio's official Senate office is finished. 

I asked about Rubio's plans for higher office, and his staffers confirmed, Rubio wants to finish out this Senate term and does not intend to run for the White House in 2012 (as either President or Vice President).

I was glad to hear that.  I've been a supporter of Marco's for a very long time and I'd love to see him in the White day.  Not yet. Remember he will be in his early 40s in 2012.  He has plenty of time. Let's not let the Democrats throw the experience issue back at us. Yes, I know Rubio was Speaker of the House and his resume far outweighs Obama's when he ran in 2008, but when was the Left ever honest in their attacks on Republican candidates?

We saw Allen West in the elevator in the Rayburn building.  There is so much excitement around him.  Everyone perks up when they see him.  If you didn't see the news already, he's been selected to give the keynote address at CPAC this year.  Rubio did it last year and was extremely well-received.  I'm glad to see Florida continuing to have a prominent place in the conservative political scene.  The Sunshine State has really produced some top-notch politicians lately, haven't we?

We also ran into Steve King (R-Iowa) in the hallway in Longworth on the way to meet with Webster.  He is very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY enthusiastic about his budget proposals, specifically an amendment that defunds Obamacare.  We told him we were meeting with Webster later and he asked us to encourage Webster to support his amendment. 

Photo at Steve King's office: he has a "Don't Tread on Me" flag along with the United States and Iowa flags. I heard he's the only Member of Congress with the Gadsen flag outside his office (haven't walked through to verify this).

Congressman King didn't need to worry about Webster.  He's definitely on board with King's amendment.  Webster also expressed frustration with the budget issues.  The Republican House - especially the freshmen - is committed to using the continuing resolution (needed because the goofball Democrats failed to pass a budget last year) and the debt ceiling issue as bargaining chips.  Their goal is to use these votes as leverage to either get a repeal of ObamaCare, a balanced budget amendment, major spending cuts, etc. The Republicans promised $100 billion in non-defense budget cuts and the current proposal is only about $58 billion in cuts.  Webster repeatedly stated his commitment to cutting the promised $100 billion, pointing out that there is clearly still a lot of waste so there are plenty of things to cut!

Photo at Daniel Webster's office with Jason Hoyt, Kelly Kraiss, and his Executive Assistant, Elizabeth Tyrell

OK, I'll post more updates later...I've been meeting so many great conservative leaders and activists, it's been a little overwhelming.  Remember to follow me on twitter! :)

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