The CPAC 2010 Experience (35 Pics): Day 1


This year, I went to the biggest conservative event of 2010, CPAC, to help cover the event for the fine folks at PJTV. I was there with Steven Crowder, who did a great job as emcee for the event on Saturday. Also on board for PJTV were Bill Whittle and Dana Loesch:

Bill Whittle and Dana Loesch

Of course, getting to the event turned out to be more of an adventure than you’d think because I had decided to drive up and my car was doing weird things. Weird things like what, you may ask? Well, every week or two it would take four or five tries to crank and it even just cut off while the car was doing 70 MPH a couple of times. I took the car to the mechanic, not once, but twice, and:┬áhe told me it was probably either the fuel pump, the fuel line, a sensor on the fuel line, or the ignition — but, they couldn’t replicate the problem and so they couldn’t determine its source. Isn’t that just the sort of issue you want to have when you’re about to go 8 hours each way on a trip?

Naturally, on the day of the trip, the car took four or five tries to crank. I took that as a bad omen, but perhaps because God looks after people reckless enough to blog for a living, I made it all the way to DC with no further problems.

That night, I hooked up with a number of people for dinner including Erik Telford from Americans for Prosperity, Melissa Clouthier, Tabitha Hale, Katie Favazza, Ericka Andersen, and Alexa Shrugged.

Ericka Andersen and Alexa Shrugged
Ericka Andersen and Alexa Shrugged

After dinner, I went back to the hotel, did some prep work, and prepared for the opening day of CPAC.

CPAC 2010: Day 1

The day did not get off to the best start. Because, I’m partially color-blind, I spent a good 20 minutes screwing up the color combinations on my suits. The basic problem: I have an extremely difficult time telling dark blue and black apart. You might say, “Gee John, why wouldn’t you just take all blue or black clothing?” My response to that would be something akin to, “Hey, look over there! Oh, gee, I don’t remember what we were talking about, so let’s move on!”

So, I start the morning a little behind and then I compounded my error by boldly deciding to walk to the hotel. I figured, “Hey, it’s less than a mile, what could go wrong?” Unfortunately, I got confused and a 15 minute walk took me 45 minutes.

Then, just to top things off, there was a really long line to get blogger credentials for the event. I think that’s because they didn’t have any prepared beforehand. Happily, I at least got to wait in line next to my pal Pamela Gellar. Unfortunately, Pamela saw Jerome Corsi and brought him over to chat without realizing that we spent months bashing each other over the North American Union Conspiracy. I’m not really fond of Jerome Corsi and if he doesn’t hate my guts because of the things I’ve said about him, he’s more forgiving than I would be in the same situation. So, all I could really say was, “At least we agree that Pamela’s great.”

In case you’re wondering, I included all those stories so you’d know that, yes, it’s not just you who has days start out like that sometimes =D

Finally, I got my blogger credentials, got situated, and ran into CRC’s Kristina Hernandez (who is an absolute sweetheart) and she was walking around with the bane of Planned Parenthood, anti-abortion activist Lila Rose:

Kristina Hernandez & Lila Rose

After getting to Blogger’s row, I was incredibly impressed with the digs. It was a large room situated over the main conference hall. You could watch the event on TV from the room, walk on the balcony and look down at the speakers, or walk down the steps into the crowd. Erick Erickson from Redstate deserves a lot of credit for doing such a good job of taking care of the bloggers in attendance.

Erick Erickson and Lee Doren
Erick Erickson from Redstate and Lee Doren from How The World Works

Fun fact: Early on at the conference, I saw Erick actually being whisked past us by security. How many places in the world does a big name blogger need security to get around?

Fun Fact #2: Twice, I got into places in the main room that other people couldn’t go because I was a blogger. I practically could have walked up to the main podium and touched it while the speakers were talking because I had a blogger pass. Actual conversation at CPAC: “Sorry, sir, you can’t go up to the stage.” I flash my blogger pass. “Oh, you’re a blogger! Go right ahead!”

Here are a few more shots from bloggers’ row on day 1.

Pamela Gellar and Melissa Clouthier
Pamela Gellar & Melissa Clouthier

Heather Smith, Kerry Picket, Tabitha Hale
Heather Smith, Kerry Picket, & Tabitha Hale.

John Hawkins and Colleen O'Boyle
John Hawkins and Colleen O’Boyle from CRC

Of course, the highlight of the day was Dick Cheney’s surprise visit after his daughter Liz spoke. The crowd absolutely ERUPTED for Cheney. My favorite Cheney line? “I think Barack Obama is a one-term President.”

Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney: Pic shot from the blogger's row balcony
Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney: Pic shot from the bloggers’ row balcony

Bonus pic: My buddy Skye from Midnight Blue Says, doing a panel:

Skye

After the day’s festivities slowed to a crawl, a group of us including Kathleen McKinley, E.M. Zanotti, Duane Lester, & Colleen O’Boyle from CRC headed out for appetizers and then headed out to the first inaugural Blogbash which was run by Melissa Clouthier, Aaron Marks, and Ali Akbar.

This turned out to be a pretty serious shindig. There was a bus running back and forth from the hotel, security, and some great eats including cake.

Blogbash cakes

The event was held at Freedomworks and had some conservative star power on hand. Ed Morrissey received a blogger award from Freedomworks’ Dick Armey.

Ed Morrissey & Dick Armey

Ed’s old boss Michelle Malkin was also on hand. That was especially cool for the bloggers, not just because Michelle is the biggest sweetheart you’re ever going to meet and pretty much talked with every person in the room who wanted some of her time, but because she didn’t go to CPAC. That’s right: if you weren’t at the Blogbash, you didn’t get to hang out with Malkin.

Tabitha Hale, Michelle Malkin, Kathleen McKinley, E.M. Zanotti
Tabitha Hale, Michelle Malkin, Kathleen McKinley, E.M. Zanotti

Just in case you were wondering, boots were the women’s footwear of choice at the Blogbash. Per the request of the ladies:

Boots: Tabitha Hale, Michelle Malkin, Kathleen McKinley, E.M. Zanotti
Tabitha Hale, Michelle Malkin, Kathleen McKinley, E.M. Zanotti

Kathleen McKinley and I were standing around, talking to Michelle for quite a while (Michelle and Kathleen adore each other and I just happened to be talking to Kathleen when Michelle got around to us) and somebody asked me if Kathleen was my wife, which both of us found hilarious.

I told Michelle that I remembered seeing her waiting in line for events and sitting on bloggers row back at CPAC 2008. It’s really amazing how her career has taken off since then. Today, she couldn’t walk through an event like CPAC without major security to keep her from getting swarmed. Michelle said she missed being able to hang out with the bloggers like she could back then.

Michelle Malkin and John Hawkins

Eventually, everybody called it a night. I got back to the hotel after 11 PM, did a little prep work, and got ready for another day.

Also see,

The CPAC 2010 Experience (35 Pics): Day 2
The CPAC 2010 Experience (35 Pics): Day 3

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