Rand Paul Wins The CPAC Presidential Straw Poll - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Rand Paul Wins The CPAC Presidential Straw Poll

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) -- She was not on the speaking program, but Hillary Rodham Clinton had presence at the nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists on Saturday, as high-profile Republicans launched a dual effort to attack the prospective Democratic presidential candidate and improve the GOP's longstanding struggle with women voters.

It was the closing act of a Republican summit that highlighted acute challenges for a party that hasn't won a presidential election in a decade.

The GOP's 2008 vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, offered a message to all women, a group that has backed Democrats in every presidential election since 1988: "Women, don't let them use you - unless you choose to be their political pawn, just their piece of accessory on their arm."

The Republican firebrand was among just a handful of women featured on the main stage during the Conservative Political Action Conference, which offers an early audition for GOP officials weighing a 2016 presidential run and a platform for leading conservatives to put their stamp on the evolving Republican Party. Thousands of conservative activists, opinion leaders and Republican officials flocked to a hotel just across the Potomac River near Washington.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won the conference's presidential preference straw poll, a symbolic victory that reflects his popularity among conservatives who typically hold outsized influence in the GOP's presidential selection process.

Clinton has yet to announce her 2016 intentions, but she is considered the overwhelming favorite to win her party's nomination should she run.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich charged that Clinton would be "a prison guard for the past" should she become president. Gingrich, a 2012 presidential hopeful, said that Republicans would recapture the White House if the next election is framed as a fight between the past and the future and predicted that the GOP would then "govern for two generations."

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., declared that the former secretary of state "has a lot to explain" should she run for president, raising pointed questions about Clinton's work in Russia and Libya. And she challenged the Republican Party's struggle with women.

"Don't forget, we are the party, the only party, that had a woman on the presidential ticket this century," Bachmann, a 2012 presidential candidate, said of Palin.

Men dominated the speaking program for the first two days of the three-day event until the final day.

The imbalance caught the attention of Washington-based conservative blogger, Crystal Wright, a guest panelist on a discussion on how to attract more women.

"Part of it is basic optics. How did we start this conference? With one gender representing the movement of the conservative party," she said, suggesting that women participants shouldn't be "stacked up on one day."

After a disappointing 2012 election season, Republican officials acknowledged the need to broaden the GOP's appeal among the growing bloc of minority voters and women.

"Women are not a `coalition.' They represent more than half the voting population in the country, and our inability to win their votes is losing us elections," read an exhaustive self-examination released by the Republican National Committee less than a year ago. Ronald Reagan was the last Republican presidential candidate to win a majority of women voters.

The RNC report found that in order to attract more women, Republicans should become more "inclusive and welcoming" on social issues in particular. "If we are not," the Republican authors found, "we will limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many women, who agree with us on some but not all issues."

Despite the aggressive anti-Clinton rhetoric, speakers also warned that the GOP must coalesce behind a positive agenda to help broaden the party's appeal in the coming elections. Republicans are optimistic about their chances in the November congressional elections and eager to snap a two-election losing streak in presidential contests.

"We must stop being the opposition movement," Gingrich said, suggesting that too much focus on Clinton would "virtually guarantee her election."

But there was little agreement on what that agenda should be.

Some of the GOP's most prominent conservatives insisted earlier in the conference that Republicans emphasize hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage in this year's midterm elections, despite the warnings of other Republican leaders.

Palin suggested Republicans should ignore the advice of the RNC and the party establishment.

"We're the party with the plank that protects even our littlest sisters in the womb," she said. "We are the real women liberators."

---

Follow Steve Peoples on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sppeoples

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Toddler signs for help while sitting on Santa's lap

    Toddler signs for help while sitting on Santa's lap

    Sunday, December 10 2017 7:43 PM EST2017-12-11 00:43:17 GMT

    OWING MILLS, Md.  - A family in Maryland is going viral after they brought their 1-year-old son to take a photo with Santa Claus and the results are hilarious. Kerry Spencer tweeted out the photo last week. She captioned it, "We taught our baby sign language. This is the sign for 'help.' You're welcome."

    >>

    OWING MILLS, Md.  - A family in Maryland is going viral after they brought their 1-year-old son to take a photo with Santa Claus and the results are hilarious. Kerry Spencer tweeted out the photo last week. She captioned it, "We taught our baby sign language. This is the sign for 'help.' You're welcome."

    >>
  • Local father dies in fiery crash after purchasing daughter's Christmas gifts

    Local father dies in fiery crash after purchasing daughter's Christmas gifts

    Monday, December 11 2017 12:02 AM EST2017-12-11 05:02:49 GMT
    Selkirk Fire Rescue & EMSSelkirk Fire Rescue & EMS

    PRIEST RIVER, Idaho - A local father is dead after a fiery crash in North Idaho Friday night. Loved ones said the man had just purchased Christmas presents for his little girl before the horrific wreck. Idaho State Police said 29-year-old Andrew Blum and his 32-year-old passenger were driving near Dufort Road when Blum lost control of his car. They said he flipped it into a ditch, and then the vehicle caught on fire. Blum was rushed to 

    >>

    PRIEST RIVER, Idaho - A local father is dead after a fiery crash in North Idaho Friday night. Loved ones said the man had just purchased Christmas presents for his little girl before the horrific wreck. Idaho State Police said 29-year-old Andrew Blum and his 32-year-old passenger were driving near Dufort Road when Blum lost control of his car. They said he flipped it into a ditch, and then the vehicle caught on fire. Blum was rushed to 

    >>
  • Authorities: Couple left boy in Florida trailer for 2 months

    Authorities: Couple left boy in Florida trailer for 2 months

    Monday, December 11 2017 5:35 PM EST2017-12-11 22:35:04 GMT

    PENSACOLA (AP) - Authorities say a Florida couple left a boy alone in a trailer for about two months.    The Pensacola News Journal reports that 34-year-old Jennifer Nichols and 32-year-old Joshua Sanders were arrested Nov. 30 and charged with child neglect. Officials didn't say how old the boy was or how he was related to Nichols or Sanders.

    >>

    PENSACOLA (AP) - Authorities say a Florida couple left a boy alone in a trailer for about two months.    The Pensacola News Journal reports that 34-year-old Jennifer Nichols and 32-year-old Joshua Sanders were arrested Nov. 30 and charged with child neglect. Officials didn't say how old the boy was or how he was related to Nichols or Sanders.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Late-night host Kimmel holds son, pleads for health care

    Late-night host Kimmel holds son, pleads for health care

    Tuesday, December 12 2017 1:27 AM EST2017-12-12 06:27:58 GMT

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jimmy Kimmel held his baby son as he returned to his late-night show after a week off for the boy's heart surgery.    Kimmel was crying from the first moment of his monologue Monday night as he pleaded with Congress to restore and improve children's health coverage, a cause he has championed since his son Billy was born with a heart defect in April.

    >>

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jimmy Kimmel held his baby son as he returned to his late-night show after a week off for the boy's heart surgery.    Kimmel was crying from the first moment of his monologue Monday night as he pleaded with Congress to restore and improve children's health coverage, a cause he has championed since his son Billy was born with a heart defect in April.

    >>
  • Merriam-Webster's word of the year for 2017: 'Feminism'

    Merriam-Webster's word of the year for 2017: 'Feminism'

    Tuesday, December 12 2017 1:00 AM EST2017-12-12 06:00:37 GMT

    NEW YORK (AP) - Merriam-Webster has revealed "feminism" as its word of the year for 2017.    Company lexicographer and editor at large, Peter Sokolowski, says the word hung in the air throughout the year. It saw a 70 percent increase in lookups over 2016 on Merriam-Webster.com and experienced a major spike around the Women's March in January.

    >>

    NEW YORK (AP) - Merriam-Webster has revealed "feminism" as its word of the year for 2017.    Company lexicographer and editor at large, Peter Sokolowski, says the word hung in the air throughout the year. It saw a 70 percent increase in lookups over 2016 on Merriam-Webster.com and experienced a major spike around the Women's March in January.

    >>
  • 'Alternative facts' remark tops 2017 list of notable quotes

    'Alternative facts' remark tops 2017 list of notable quotes

    Tuesday, December 12 2017 12:56 AM EST2017-12-12 05:56:39 GMT

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - The use of the term "alternative facts" by Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to President Donald Trump, tops a Yale Law School librarian's list of the most notable quotes of 2017.    Conway made the statement when asked why Trump's then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer mischaracterized the size of inauguration crowds.

    >>

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - The use of the term "alternative facts" by Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to President Donald Trump, tops a Yale Law School librarian's list of the most notable quotes of 2017.    Conway made the statement when asked why Trump's then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer mischaracterized the size of inauguration crowds.

    >>