« McCain Pulls Out the SC Straw | The RCP Blog Home Page | Obama on Iran »

CPAC: Romney Hits One Out

Almost everything now being written about the 2008 race should be prefaced with "It's still early but..." With that in mind, Mitt Romney, who's had a tough couple of weeks fending off flip-flopping charges, apparently just dazzled the CPAC crowd, according to some conservative folks in attendance.

Over at the Corner, Kate O'Beirne said Romney's attacks on McCain-Feingold and the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill were "big crowd pleasers." (Hmmm, what do those two bills have in common?) Also, she notes, "In stringing together some of the events he faced upon taking office -- the Massachusetts court ordering gay marriage, the scientific community's support for creating embryos for research, and the blackballing of Catholic Charities over gay adoption -- he offered a potentially plausible sequence that prompted second thoughts on social issues."

At RedState.com, Erick Erickson sums it up: "Giuliani had leadership. Romney had conservatism." He adds, "Mitt Romney was pitch perfect and willing to talk social issues -- something totally missing from Giuliani's speech. And people noticed. I have to say that it was a tremendous speech. I actually could not listen to all of Rudy's, but Mitt's was great." Oh, and there's a trend emerging at CPAC. As Erickson notes, "He spoke negatively about McCain-Feingold and McCain-Kennedy."

RedState has Romney's full speech here.

For a less partisan perspective, Jonathan Martin of ThePolitico.com writes, "Mitt's team got what they wanted: a tougher, more focused, more forward-leaning speech that was just that, a speech. Gone were the rambling anecdotes and asides (no Olympics and no Challenger) and left was a more concise message." And, yes, Martin makes sure to tell his readers that Romney "took two direct shots at John McCain" over campaign finance reform and immigration.

Two conclusions to draw from this. First, Romney did what he had to do to. And second, McCain took it on the chin.