POLITICS
03/15/2013 10:49 am ET Updated Mar 15, 2013

Paul Ryan CPAC Speech Sticks To Same Fiscal Policies, Ignores 2012 Election

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- It's like the November election didn't even happen.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday gave a speech to GOP activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the largest annual gathering of conservatives. Instead of taking a step back from the daily grind of politics and laying out a new path for the movement based on the lessons learned from his and Mitt Romney's loss in November, Ryan stuck to the same sharp fiscal promises that he and Romney ran on -- and which voters largely rejected -- in the 2012 election.

"Our debt is a threat to this country. We have to tackle this problem before it tackles us. So today, I want to make the case for balance. That case, in a nutshell, is that a balanced budget will promote a healthier economy," said Ryan.

The audience was certainly sympathetic to Ryan's governing philosophy. He's still a star in the Republican Party, and most likely, he didn't have to make the case for a balanced budget to them; they were already on board.

But while some sessions at CPAC have offered introspection on the election losses suffered by Republicans, Ryan chose to keep the focus on his budget, which he unveiled this week.

The plan by Ryan, who is the House Budget Committee chairman, includes $4.6 trillion in cuts over the next decade. It plans to balance the budget in 10 years by slashing Medicare, Medicaid and programs to aid the poor, including food stamps. It would also repeal Obamacare -- a position that Romney and Ryan promoted heavily in the 2012 campaign as well.

"The president says we're in a recovery," said Ryan. "I say we're in critical care. ... We are on the verge of a debt crisis."

"We don't hide behind our beliefs," Ryan added. "We argue for them, because a budget is more than just a list of numbers; it's an expression of our governing philosophy. And our budget draws a very sharp contrast with the left. It says to the people in unmistakable terms: 'They are the party of shared hardship, we are the part of equal opportunity.'"

On Tuesday, Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill that the election outcome essentially didn't matter.

"The election didn't go our way. Believe me, I know what that feels like," he said. "That means we surrender our principles? That means we stop believing what we believe in? Look, whether the country intended it or not, we have divided government. We have the second largest House majority we've had since World War II. And what we believe in this divided government era, we need to put up our vision."

He also suggested that maybe most voters did agree with the GOP after all.

"Are a lot of these solutions very popular, and did we win these arguments in the campaign? Some of us think so," Ryan said.

Romney is scheduled to give a speech at CPAC on Friday afternoon.

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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