In the absence of big primary contests or major debates this weekend, GOP members still have a place to go: CPAC 2012 is getting underway in Washington.
The annual three-day conservative conference includes a straw poll, speeches from conservative darlings like Ann Coulter, and seminars like “Engaging America Through Conservative Pop Culture,” hosted by Stephen Baldwin.
One of the first speeches of the event came from House Speaker John Boehner. He predicted a republican in the White House in 2012 and called for unity—a tall order for a party showing cracks between hardliner Tea Party conservatives and old guard Republicans more willing to reach across the aisle.
Also on the speaking agenda are potential GOP nominees Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and front-runner Mitt Romney. Congressman Ron Paul is avoiding the conference so he can continue campaigning, which may be good for the other three candidates, as he’s won the CPAC straw poll two years running.