On Friday, Republican Presidential candidates former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference and rattled off many of the socially conservative talking points that repel most American Jews from the Republican Party.
Romney—who won the CPAC straw poll—touted his “severely conservative” record and:
* Pandered to anti-choice activists by pledging to defund Planned Parenthood and declaring that his presidency will be “pro-life”;
* Reveled in his opposition to marriage equality. He declared that he would push for a constitutional amendment barring marriage equality and bragged that he “prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage”;
* Voiced vehement opposition to potentially life saving stem cell research; and
* Falsely claimed that religious liberty is under attack.
After his speech, Romney’s campaign released a thorough roundup of the actions that make up his “severely conservative” record, including his veto that limited women’s access to emergency contraception. Click here to learn how Romney “fought for conservative values in a deep blue state.”
Santorum also expressed just some of his right wing views. He:
* Declared that the Obama Administration’s expansion of access to contraception is “not about contraception. It’s about economic liberty, it’s about freedom of speech, it’s about freedom of religion. It’s about government control of your lives and it’s gotta stop.” He told the audience that the cost of contraception is “minor,” and “something that costs just a few dollars” that should not be covered by health insurance—ignoring the truth that more than half of all women between the ages of 18-34 struggle to afford contraception. Think Progress responded to Santorum by breaking down the costs of contraception. Their analysis is available here;
* Continued denying climate change by saying:
[Liberals and progressives] scare you into supporting radical ideas on the environment. They tried it with this idea, this politicization of science called man-made global warming. President Obama, you may remember, tried to pass cap-and-trade and tried to get control not only of the health care system but of the energy industry, the manufacturing industry, another two big sectors of this economy, and using this facade of man-made global warming. I stood up and fought against those things. Why? because they will destroy the very foundation of prosperity in our country; and
* Assailed Romney because he “bought into man-made global warming.”
Santorum’s full speech can be viewed here.
Gingrich also dished out the right wing red meat. Gingrich:
* Accused the Obama Administration of legislating “religious bigotry” and picked up former presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry’s divisive “war on religion” rhetoric. He even declared that the President will “wage war on the Catholic Church the morning after he is reelected”;
* Continued his “food stamp president” meme; and
* Called to abolish the Department of Energy.
Gingrich’s full speech can be read and viewed here.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank paid close attention to the conservative confab and noted the general sense of negativity that seemed to drive the conference’s key speakers. In particular, he noted that:
* Former presidential candidate Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) dismissed the importance of President Barack Obama killing Osama Bin Laden;
* Representative Steve King (R-IA) invoked the East German secret police to attack Obama; and
* Former presidential candidate Herman Cain declared that “stupid people are ruining America.”
Click here to read Milbank’s piece.
It is also important to note that this year’s CPAC conference counted among its many extremely right wing speakers two white nationalists; neither of whom was denounced by any of the Republicans officials who participated. Further, one of Romney’s surrogates appeared on a panel that featured one of the white nationalists and dismissed calls for denouncing him as “silly.”
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