March 4th, 2009

CPAC 2009 – Say it Ain’t So, Joe

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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Last week I spent four days in Washington DC attending the Conservative Action Political Conference. It marked the second time I have attended the event. With the coverage of Rush Limbaugh’s speech, and the weird comments by Michael Steele on Monday, you have undoubtedly heard about the event or seen some of the speeches.

While headliners like Rush, Ann Coulter, Newt, Mitt Romney, and South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford receive most of the attention by the news media, they only make up a small portion of the outstanding line-up that makes me pledge to never miss another CPAC in my lifetime.

In addition to those listed above, Congressman Paul Ryan and Congressman Mike Pence were outstanding. Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul energized the room when they spoke. But what makes CPAC special is the speakers who are not household names – or the people you don’t circle on your program because you think if you miss them, it’s no big deal.

Bill Bennett, a well known conservative pundit and former Secretary of Education under Reagan, was outstanding. His tone was very serious, but especially so when he talked about the threats we face in the world in which we live. Niger Innis, the spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E) took a ho-hum panel on energy to heights unseen. I think the crowd was brought to its feet 12 times during his 15 minute speech on energy. Simply amazing. But perhaps the most surprising speaker at CPAC was Jonathan Krohn, a 14-year-old author who took the place by storm.

In addition to being able to listen to a great roster of speakers at CPAC you also tend to bump into some interesting people. On Thursday, as I was walking around the exhibit hall, I saw Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, the 2004 World Series of Poker champion. Raymer was there advocating for the Poker Players Alliance. They want to see on-line poker legalized again.

My most interesting run-in was with Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber. Now, I’m not one who ever wants to get his picture taken with celebrities or public figures, but the people I was having a drink with encouraged me to do so since we are both now citizen journalists.

So, I went up to Joe and asked him politely for a quick picture. He said he wanted to step outside for a bit, but would be back. No problem, I said. I returned to my group and told them what was up. A few minutes later someone pointed to Joe. He wasn’t outside. He was still in the room getting his picture taken with a young lady…

I’ll be the first to admit that the young lady was far more attractive than I will ever be. But still, say it ain’t so Joe!

Watch Bill Bennett’s speech here.

Watch the end of Niger Innis’ speech here.

Our Friends at the American Future Fund interviewed Jonathan Krohn. Watch it here.

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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