Scott Walker a Big Hit at CPAC

And Jeb Bush holds his own
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2015 2:01 PM CST
Scott Walker a Big Hit at CPAC
In this Feb. 26, 2015, photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gestures while speaking during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Today saw the conclusion of the Conservative Political Action Conference, a gathering which a GOP strategist calls "the starting gun of the Republican primary campaign," the Los Angeles Times reports. The event saw a number of possible candidates offer their pitches, and Scott Walker was among its stars:

  • The Wisconsin governor made a "barn-burner of a speech. He lit up the crowd," writes Rich Lowry at the National Review, noting that the event settled any doubt as to whether Walker is "up for a national race." At the New Yorker, John Cassidy adds that Walker looks "like Bush’s strongest rival. Whenever someone mentioned Bush’s name, boos rang out."

  • Indeed, Bush faced the threat of a walkout at the very conservative event, according to a report in the Washington Times. But reports say only a few people made good on that threat, and the former Florida governor came off well. "He didn’t make any enemies, or any new ones at least. Indeed, he made a pretty convincing case that he is a committed conservative," Cassidy writes. "In entering the conservative den and emerging unscathed, he did what he needed to do."
  • Among the other candidates: Marco Rubio, Lowry writes, is "a natural political talent," and in the Times, Doyle McManus calls the Florida senator a possibility to "rise if Walker stumbles." As for Chris Christie, he "weathered" questioning by Laura Ingraham well, but "the problem for him is that his early accomplishments in New Jersey and his personality manifestly aren’t going to be enough to get him through a Republican nomination battle," Lowry writes.
(More Scott Walker stories.)

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