POLITICS
03/15/2013 01:24 pm ET | Updated Mar 15, 2013

Rick Santorum CPAC: Former GOP Presidential Hopeful Addresses Conservative Conference

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) began his CPAC speech on a somber note, unlike nearly all the other speakers at the conference.

Santorum revealed that his nephew passed away on Thursday, and he used the story to reflect on suffering and government's role:

Yesterday I was in Pittsburgh, where Karen and I spent some precious and painful moments with Karen's brother and his family at the bedside of their oldest son. Bill was a terrific, vibrant young man, who for the past few months has been struggling against a horribly painful disease that almost overnight began ravaging his body.

But yesterday, he was not the one in pain. Medicines were effectively blocking all of his physical pain. We were the ones in pain. Our family and his girlfriend were in incredible agony as he slowly and peacefully took his last breaths. I couldn't help but have my experience yesterday impact my message to you today. I thought of Buddha's first noble truth, to live is to suffer. Our society has done an amazing job in reducing physical pains with medicines by dulling our senses. But that has come with an epidemic of addiction and dysfunction.

And it's not just doctors who seek to eliminate pain. For 100 years, the left, in government, have made it their mission to have a government program to address almost every pain, as their allies in education deny truth so there is no wrong and therefore nothing to worry about. And their allies in Hollywood and the media promote a culture of titillation and violence that numbs our senses in an attempt to please us.

According to Ben Jacobs with the Daily Download, Santorum contemplated not attending CPAC at all after his nephew died, and he ended up rewriting his entire speech.

His remarks still contained plenty of jabs against President Barack Obama and the left, though.

"Face it -- the left can always promise more stuff" to seem like they care, 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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