POLITICS
03/14/2013 11:07 am ET | Updated Mar 14, 2013

Al Cardenas CPAC Speech: ACU Chair Addresses Decision To Not Invite Chris Christie

Al Cardenas, head of the American Conservative Union, defended the decision to not invite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.

"This is a business of rewarding those who stick by your principles in a given year," Cardenas said during his Thursday address.

"Last year Chris Christie was invited," Cardenas said. "This year, for better or for worse, we felt like he didn't deserve to be on the all-star selection for decisions he made. Hopefully next year he's back on the right track of being a conservative."

Cardenas also insisted the GOP must broaden its appeal while speaking at the conservative gathering. The AP reports:

The Conservative Political Action Conference offers Republican leaders – past and potential presidential contenders among them – a high-profile stage to court their party's most passionate voters. The three-day gathering also shines a spotlight on deep divisions within the Republican Party as it tries to recover from a painful 2012 election season.

"I'm a firm believer that if the Republican Party is going to have some success, it's going to do so by being a conservative party and not a home for everybody. That's how you grow," Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, told reporters Thursday morning as the conference began at Maryland's National Harbor, just south of Washington.

He continued: "You grow your tent by convincing others, persuading others that yours is the way. And you build your tent by reaching out to the new demographics of America, not with a watered down version of who we ought to be," he said.

Below, a liveblog of the latest updates from CPAC:

03/16/2013 5:31 PM EDT

Rand Paul Scores Straw Poll Win

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) came out on top of this year's CPAC straw poll. Click here to read more.

03/16/2013 4:54 PM EDT

Birther's 'Inappropriate' Questions Face Fire

From HuffPost's Paige Lavender:

Orly Taitz, commonly known as the "Birther Queen," was rebuked by blogger Pamela Geller during a Saturday panel on Islam and national security at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.

Click here to read more.

03/16/2013 4:53 PM EDT

Walker Goes 47%: Obama Wants 'Government Dependence'

HuffPost's Jason Linkins reports:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took the stage Saturday at CPAC, praising the assemblage for its support during the fraught Wisconsin recall fight, which Walker won, allowing him to stay in power. His speech was themed around the idea that the states are the laboratories of policy -- "Real reform does not happen in Washington, it happens in the statehouses throughout this country," he said -- and that he, in particular, was leading the way to end "government dependency."

If future GOP presidential runs depend on silver-tongues articulation of dorm-room "makers vs. takers" arguments, then Walker's future is pretty bright.

Click here to read more.

03/16/2013 1:51 PM EDT

PHOTO: CPAC Highlights, Sarah Palin Drinks 'Big Gulp' On Stage: 'Bloomberg's Not Around. Don't Worry'

sarah palin cpac 2013

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

03/16/2013 1:37 PM EDT

PHOTO: CPAC Highlights, Rick Santorum Looks Like He Is About To Give Us A Knuckle-Sandwich

santorum cpac 2013

(Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

03/16/2013 1:34 PM EDT

CPAC Highlights: Steve King

@ elisefoley :

RT @EvanMcSan: Steve King calls them "undocumented Democrats" #Immigration #CPAC2013

03/16/2013 1:01 PM EDT

PHOTO: CPAC Highlights, Michele Bachmann: Conservatism Is "The Movement Of Love, The Movement Of Care."

michele bachmann cpac 2013

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

03/16/2013 12:57 PM EDT

Phyllis Schlafly Invited CPAC Audience To Follow Her On Twitter

@ achorowitz :

Phyllis Schlafly just asked if we would please follow her on Twitter. What.

03/16/2013 12:52 PM EDT

Schlafly On Immigration

@ Bencjacobs :

Phyllis Schafly says immigrants will all vote Democratic, I don't think Marco Rubio agrees #cpac

03/16/2013 12:51 PM EDT

Phyllis Schlafly On Amnesty

@ jmartpolitico :

Phyllis Schlafly: "comprehensive is a synonym for amnesty"

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