NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the guy that everyone wanted to hear speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and he didn't disappoint.
In a speech Friday, Paul hit on all the issues that make a young libertarian salivate. He vowed to repeal "every last bit" of the Affordable Care Act. He wondered aloud how we can trust the government to rebuild nations abroad if it can't deliver the mail here. He criticized President Barack Obama for driving up the debt, and said Hillary Clinton was "forever" unfit to run for office because of her "dereliction of duty" as secretary of state in the wake of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Don't like the National Security Agency collecting your data? Neither does Paul. "The phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of the government's damn business!" he said, drawing loud cheers.
The 2016 presidential hopeful even had a little bit of news: He announced that in the coming weeks, he plans to unveil the "largest tax cut in American history," a plan that will, somehow, simultaneously cut spending and balance the budget in five years.
"I will keep the IRS out of your life and out of the way of every job creator in America," Paul declared.
Paul's supporters came in droves to see him speak. Hundreds of people wearing "Stand with Rand" T-shirts filled the ballroom before he spoke, and cleared the room as soon he was done. In a show of loyalty, many fans were planning a mass walkout later when Jeb Bush, one of Paul's more moderate rivals for the 2016 Republican nomination, was scheduled to take the stage.
"President Paul! President Paul!" they shouted at Paul, who chuckled as he wrapped up his speech.
But for some CPAC attendees, particularly the young and fickle, a fiery speech by a GOP presidential contender may have just been something fun to check out, rather than an indication of voter support ahead of 2016. Some were just as eager to find out when the star of "Duck Dynasty" was scheduled to speak.
"Great guy," said one college-aged attendee as he walked out after Paul's speech. "He won't be president, though."