I spent the majority of the past two days getting familiar with the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of the people of the right-wing of American politics.
On Thursday and Friday, I spent hours talking with dozens of interesting people and listening to several impassioned speeches given by politicians who are vying for a presidential nomination.
I have written a handful of other stories about the goings on at CPAC 2015, but there were several things that I could not find a place to fit in any other story and were too good to throw away with the majority of my notes.
Below are eight interesting, funny and scary observations I made during my first trip to CPAC. I hope they'll let me return.
- "Hey, do you want to win an AR-15 (assault rifle)?" I heard this in the exhibition ballroom, where a few booths were giving away guns in raffles.
- While listening to Chris Christie -- the governor of New Jersey and a presidential hopeful -- speak on Thursday, I saw a gentleman in the audience chewing tobacco and spitting in a Starbucks cup. Not sure why that struck me as funny, but it got stuck in my head.
- CPAC 2015 brought out quite a young group of people. I am not sure if this is common for CPAC, but the Republican party has been keen to attract the younger generation. This likely bodes well for them.
- During a panel discussion, Stephen Moore, of the Heritage Foundation, said that climate change is the "biggest scam in the last 100 years."
- Phil Robertson, from popular US television show Duck Dynasty, brought up in his speech the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases and called it "the revenge of the hippies."
- During a speech by Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of HP and a popular Republican figure, a gentleman jumped up out of his seat to applaud so quickly that his chair fell over and he tripped to the ground.
- CEO of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre suggested that the best way to empower women is to let them carry firearms.
- Walking to the speech by Jeb Bush, possibly the leading Republican candidate for president in 2016, an activist told the crowd: "If you're going to Jeb Bush, the Democrats are meeting down the street." This seemed to reflect the prevailing opinion of Mr Bush at CPAC, where many consider him to be too moderate.
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