While Dara chose to stay home with Bosco, our tenured cat, I headed down to Washington last week to report on the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. It was an interesting year to be at CPAC. Day one the headlines read: Giuliani is a go, but McCain won't do CPAC. From The Washington Times:
Sen. John McCain is the only major Republican presidential candidate who will not address the nation's premier gathering of conservatives this year.
Sponsors of the Conservative Political Action Conference, which begins today in Washington and brings together thousands of conservative leaders and grass-roots activists, say the Arizona Republican has "dissed" organizers by attempting to schedule a private reception for attendees after rejecting invitations to speak at the event.
"It was a classical McCain move, dissing us by going behind our backs," said William J. Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union.
With the Brownback campaign slipping cards under CPAC doors and a person in a dolphin suit walking the convention floor (the message: Romney is a 'flip-flopper'), this year's CPAC was pure American tango. Will an outcast conservative base (not a word is spoken in favor of the Bush White House) be wooed by a buffed out, high maintenance, $100-million-rasing Republican candidate for '08? Will a conservative underdog get the last dance? One thing's for sure: conservatives represented at CPAC weren't nearly ready to settle on this year's prom queen, even if this queen is ready to settle for them. (Yes, this is an undoctored picture of Giuliani in drag. You've got to wonder, is America ready for New York humor?)
In the end, while Giuliani made a rousing speech on the convention floor, Mitt Romney won the 2007 CPAC 'straw poll' . More here.
One rumor spread through the Shoreham Hotel afterparties that Giuliani's personal and political skeletons may overcome his Presidential ambition. A forensic expert at the event told me he had $5,000 riding on the belief that Giuliani would pull out of the race once he raises more cash. Here is an article that, while not backing up this cynical claim, at least indicates Giuliani's troubles at home. (Gosh, and I remember Andrew Giuliani when he was just an annoying pubescient at his father's first mayoral inauguration.)