POLITICS
03/16/2013 12:07 pm ET Updated Mar 16, 2013

Michele Bachmann CPAC: Congresswoman Speaks At Conservative Conference

Introduced as a speaker who both bravely opposed Obamacare and supported the effort to court global economic calamity by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, Michele Bachmann received one of the warmest welcomes from the Saturday morning CPAC crowd. Her address was themed around the conservative movement being the movement of "care and compassion."

It was a message, that at times, sounded as if she was being sarcastic. It didn't help that the speech began with Bachmann welcoming attendees to "Washington, the epicenter of care and compassion." Primed with speeches that railed against Washington, and "government dependence" the crowd greeted the remarks with a mocking laughter, anticipating that Bachmann was railing against nannyism. Eventually, everyone figured out that Bachmann was trying to be sincere.

From there, Bachmann launched into outrage over the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi. "A war was raging in Benghazi for hours, and all we know is that our president went A.W.O.L.," she shouted, as the crowd booed lustily.

At CPAC, Bachmann is truly in her element, and she worked the crowd like a red-meat slinging virtuoso -- a contrast to her often halting and hesitant performances in the 2012 primary campaign. Bachmann very effortlessly shifted from the Benghazi outrage, to touch briefly on the effort to curb gun violence, to Obamacare's "war on the young" to a criticism of sequester politics.

"Why are we paying for someone to walk the White House dog when we can't even get a veteran in for a White House tour."

From there, however, Bachmann's "caring" theme got weird. During an extended riff on Jonas Salk and the polio vaccine, she essentially suggested that the government could cure Alzheimer's disease and other maladies by simply taking the cures of kindly inventors and then using the government to distribute them around the country for free. Bachmann suggested that a regulatory regime was to blame for the problem, but there are actually these things called "powerful pharmaceutical lobbies" that frown on just giving things away for free.

Nevertheless, Bachmann said more people should care, and that "we are a movement of love."

She also had this to say: "You can never count on your cat."

Fair enough.

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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