CPAC 2011: Speeches, Video & More (LIVE UPDATES & VIDEO)

02/10/2011 09:11 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference is kicking-off in Washington, DC on Thursday.

According to the CPAC website, confirmed speakers for this year's event include Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), among other big conservative names.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) was tapped to deliver the keynote address at the conference. Sarah Palin was offered the coveted speaking opportunity; however, declined to accept the invitation.

Check back here for updates on CPAC 2011 and the latest news to come out on the conservative conference.

02/11/2011 4:53 PM EST

Ron Paul Talks To The Huffington Post

In an interview with The Huffington Post today, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) explained that "big government is alive and well."

See what else he had to say by checking out the full story here.

02/11/2011 4:44 PM EST

Perry Goes After Health Care Bill

Rick Perry attacked the health care bill in his speech, saying, "that bill will bankrupt our states, and in turn bankrupt our country." He explained, "it is wrong for the federal government to force you to buy health insurance." Perry had a message for what he called "this activist federal government": "Enough! Enough! Enough!"

02/11/2011 4:41 PM EST

Texas Governor Rick Perry Talks EPA

Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) just spoke about the EPA. He said that the EPA is punishing Texas, which he said already has an effective clean air policy. Perry stated that the federal government should be praising Texas' program, not punishing it.

02/11/2011 4:06 PM EST

Pawlenty: I'm Not A Birther, But What Planet Is President From?

The Washington Post reports on a birther-related joke that Tim Pawlenty made during his speech:

Pawlenty, like Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) yesterday, also cracked a birther joke: "Now, I'm not one who questions the existence of the president's birth certificate. But when you listen to his policies, don't you at least wonder what planet he's from?"

02/11/2011 4:02 PM EST

Ron Paul Talks Foreign Policy, Bipartisanship

Ron Paul, who won the Straw Poll at last year's CPAC convention, has been getting a huge response from the crowd during his speech this year. The crowd excitedly cheered as he bucked party orthodoxy on many issues, especially regarding foreign policy. Paul expressed his dismay about the amount of troops we have stationed around the world, stated his opposition to the war in Afghanistan, and went after the "military industrial complex." He also expressed his desire to end the Federal Reserve.

Regarding the current state of government, he said we have "too much" bipartisanship as both parties are complicit in pushing bad policies.

02/11/2011 4:00 PM EST

Crowd Boos Patriot Act During Ron Paul's Speech

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) just went after the Patriot Act. The crowd booed the law when he initially mentioned it. And when Paul went on the attack against the legislation, calling it the "destruction of the Fourth Amendment," the crowd erupted in applause.

02/11/2011 3:40 PM EST

Pawlenty Goes After Obama's Foreign Policy, Tells President To "Stop Apologizing For Our Country"

Tim Pawlenty aggressively attacked what he views as President Obama's foreign policy failures. "Bullies respect strength, they don't respect weakness. So when the United States of America projects its national security interests here and around the world, we need to do it with strength," said Pawlenty. He continued, "Mr. President, with bullies, might makes right." Finally, he echoed a theme that has been very popular with conservatives of late when he said, "Mr. President, stop apologizing for our country." The former Minnesota Governor's speech was filled with passionate rhetoric opposing the policies of President Obama, and the crowd seemed to respond well to it.

02/11/2011 3:30 PM EST

Republicans At CPAC Discuss Afghanistan War

HuffPost's Amanda Terkel:

There was a rush of excitement when Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) arrived at CPAC on Friday, with a huge crowd of people trying to push in and meet the prominent libertarian. When asked by The Huffington Post if he sensed increased conservative dissatisfaction with the war in Afghanistan, he replied, "Hopefully there will be more."

In the mimosa reception Friday morning with freshmen Republicans, Reps. Rich Nugent (R-Fla.) and Bill Flores (R-Tex.) also offered their thoughts on the war:

-- NUGENT: I think if you've looked back at the success we've had with more troops in Iraq, there's a hopeful sign that that will be the case in Afghanistan. But you're looking at a different country totally. Afghanistan really doesn't have any infrastructure. My older son did 15 months in combat in Afghanistan, and is going to Iraq in May. My younger son is going to Iraq in March. From my standpoint, I want to make sure that if we're putting our kids in harm's way, we have a clear definable mission, and we have a very definable way to get out. I think that when you talk to the kids who are serving, they're doing it for their buddies; they're not doing it for the President. They're doing it because they took an oath to defend the Constitution and obey the commander-in-chief. [...]

Here's the one thing that I will say: If you're going to be in two wars, you've got to allow the military to prosecute the wars. It's not any good when you have, whoever the President is, to sit there and second-guess what the military would like to do in regard to the number of troops. ... Not necessarily how they prosecute, but the number of troops. If I'm the commanding general -- and I was a sheriff -- I know how many troops I have to put in to handle a certain situation. To have other elected officials tell me no, instead of 100,000 troops you only need 40,000, that's absolutely wrong. That's the wrong direction to go.

-- FLORES: The President's strategy is fine with one exception: You never give your enemy a hard date as to when you're going to pull yourself off the battlefield. I support the surge, I support putting more troops in there. I especially support the fact that he kept Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense, but I am absolutely opposed to setting firm deadlines for withdrawal. The deadline will be set based on battlefield conditions. Luckily we've got a strong leader in the Secretary of Defense, and I think he'll do the right thing. ... We don't can't leave an environment where the Taliban can reform, strengthen itself back up, and become another threat to this country. We've spent too many lives, we've spent too much money, to ever leave it in a position where it will be a safe haven for terrorists to come back and attack us. That would absolutely be the wrong decision to make.

02/11/2011 3:24 PM EST

Pawlenty Takes More Jabs At Obama

Tim Pawlenty's latest: "We need more common sense, and less Obama nonsense."

02/11/2011 3:19 PM EST

Tim Pawlenty: Obama Like Carter, Not Reagan

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is currently speaking at CPAC. Pawlenty said about President Obama, "he's been really good at duping the mainstream media." He said that the media has been fooled into thinking that Obama is behaving like Ronald Reagan. "Ronald Reagan knew how to stare down our enemies. Ronald Reagan understood the price of freedom." He continued, "Barack Obama is not behaving like Ronald Reagan. He's behaving like Jimmy Carter."