#171; “Romney @ CPAC” or “How not to enrage your audience”

I refuse to believe that America is just another place on the map with a flag. I believe that America is an exceptional nation, of freedom and opportunity and hope. The America I believe in has goodness and a greatness that creates a unique American genius. That genius has blessed the world, led the world and yes, even saved the world from unimaginable darkness.” – Mitt Romney, CPAC ’11

Romney gave a stirring speech to a packed house at CPAC this morning. Easily the highest profile besides Trump’s hair making an appearance so far at the conference (because Cheney was rumored long before he showed up and former VPs don’t rate compared to future office holders, sadly – though I’ll admit, I love me some Cheney anecdotes, can’t help it), Romney had the bored and sleepy crowd (seemed like none of us had our coffee this morning) eating out of the palm of his hand. Focusing on his comedy routine and the topics of foreign policy, Obama bashing, and the fiscal crisis, Mitt was more relaxed and at ease with himself and his speech than he ever was during the ’08 race.

The #cpac11 hastag on Twitter blew up with support for the former Massachusetts governor and you could see students and professionals wearing his “Believe in America” stickers anywhere you turned. Romney’s wife, Ann, introduced her husband stating that she truly hopes to see him as the Next President of the United States. Giving a heartfelt speech about their lives together (celebrating 42 years married soon), Ann highlighted her struggle with MS and the strength she took from her husband to make it through the worst of the disease as she was first diagnosed. From the sound of the audience, the story resonated very well and by the time Mitt took the stage people were on their feet. Of course, he started by claiming that Ann is the true rockstar of the couple.

For more on the speech and my heartbreak as his dogged insistence that he is pro-life, read after the jump…

With the exception of his one dip into social issues (which Romney is always just better off steering clear of), Romney stayed strong on issues he’s formerly been considered weak. I was disappointed to hear him call out the pro-choice movement stating that social liberals have “failed to protect the unborn” but after one paragraph on liberal domestic policies, he moved back onto gratefully more comfortable ground.

Romney didn’t use the speech to announce for 2012, despite his wife’s ringing endorsement, but spoke as if ‘if I decide to run’ were the perspective of the day.

Ending his speech with what’s considered throughout CPAC to be his new slogan, Romney repeated a sentiment that can be agreed upon no matter your party or political orientation. “Believe in America. Freedom depends on it.”

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