Monday, February 14, 2011

The Most Important People at (and missing from) CPAC

CPAC came and went through Washington with little fanfare this year, but perhaps the biggest disappointment for me was the news that Stephen Baldwin — the conference’s little slice of Hollywood--was a no show this year. Yeas and Nays says, “The actor was slated to appear on a panel to discuss “Engaging America Through Conservative Pop Culture” Friday afternoon, but wasn’t there. His business partner and radio co-host, Kevin McCollough, explained he was simply too busy with other projects to jet to Washington for this year’s CPAC. “When Mark Burnett of ‘Survivor’ calls and says, ‘I’d like to take a meeting,’ you take a meeting.” Tell that to the kids who were looking forward to XPAC this year Stephen.

But while Baldwin may have skipped the conference this year—Jimmy McMillan made an appearance for the very first time. Holding court of sorts and with a black shoe on his left hand he yammered at rapid-fire speed as cameras and reporters trailed after him . He led dozens people in a chant of "the rent is too damn high" in the hotel lobby. One student chased him, running up the stairs to get his photo. He finally relented and posed next to her and her college republicans placard.

And one last story to add to your CPAC redux—Dale Peterson, you remember the guy who ran for Alabama Ag. Commissioner--was spotted over the weekend at the conference. He launched a write-in candidacy for the CPAC presidential straw poll Friday, but it was unclear whether the straw-poll candidacy meant Peterson will actually run for president. Peterson said he wants to infuse the election with “straight talk” lacking from professional politicians who are “too slick, too fakey, or either they waltz around the issues.”

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