CPAC's Big Winners, Losers
Romney, Bachmann score while Paul, Santorum struggle
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2011 7:50 AM CST
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll for the second year straight, but that doesn’t make him a CPAC winner. Chris Cillizza runs down his take on the winners and losers coming out of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference for the Washington Post, and there are a few surprises:

  • Mitt Romney: Winner. His speech was well-received and he had a "strong" second place finish in the straw poll, making this already top-tier 2012 candidate even stronger.
  • Michele Bachmann: Winner. The Minnesota congresswoman’s speech was a hit, “and she was surrounded by admirers everywhere she went at the convention,” writes Cillizza.

  • Chris Christie: Winner. Despite not speaking, the New Jersey governor still tied for third in the straw poll ... finishing ahead of many who did speak.
  • Ron Paul: Loser. He’s a sensation with some Republicans, but his reach is limited, as evidenced by his speech. It relied heavily on the idea of defunding the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and he said some odd things (like "government should never be able to do anything you can't do").
  • Rick Santorum: Loser. As a social conservative, he should have scored well at CPAC, but the room was less than two-thirds full during his speech—indicating he could have a problem breaking through to the majority.
Click for the complete list, or check out our full CPAC coverage.