POLITICS
03/14/2013 01:20 pm ET Updated Mar 14, 2013

Grover Norquist CPAC: Conservative Leader Slams Republican 'Rat Heads'

Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist told an enthusiastic CPAC crowd that his hardline stance on taxes is not an end in itself, but part of a larger effort to limit the scope of government and a key marketing strategy for the Republican Party.

"We branded the Republican Party as the party of not raising taxes -- branding is important," Norquist said, drawing an analogy to Coca-Cola. People know what they're going to get when they buy a bottle of Coke, Norquist said, but if they find a rat's head in the bottom of the bottle, the company loses a customer for life. So it goes with taxes.

"Republican elected officials who vote for tax increases are rat heads in a Coke bottle," Norquist said. "They damage the Republican brand."

Norquist went on to praise the budget plan outlined by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Combined with his continued commitment to no tolerance on tax increases, Norquist's support for the Ryan budget -- which formed the core of Mitt Romney's economic platform during the 2012 campaign -- made clear that he sees little advantage to changing course on economic policy despite the GOP's November defeat.

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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