Early on in the day Pamela Gellar’s “Jihad: The Political Third Rail” event was high on my list of priorities. It featured ”Steve Coughlin, Wafa Sultan, Allen West, Simon Deng, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, & Robert Spencer.” Unfortunately, I was pressed for time and the event was packed. Every seat was filled and there were maybe 50 people standing in the back.
Fun fact: Comment I heard about Pamela at the event: “She does more to fight terror than the US Army!”
I did, at least, get a picture of Pamela before I had to bail.
As per usual during CPAC, bloggers row was hopping.
The real Wonkette, Time’s Ana Marie Cox, was even on hand. I walked up, introduced myself, and not only did she seem to know who I was, she assured me that she reads Right Wing News. I have to admit I’m a little dubious of that assertion, but if one of the few lefty writers I consider clever and funny actually peruses my material, I’ll take it as a compliment.
Also, from bloggers row that day:
Steve Poizner’s Press Secretary Bettina Inclan and John Hawkins
Unfortunately, I was apparently the only person on bloggers row having a hard time connecting to the wireless networks there. So, I headed down to the XPAC lounger to take advantage of their screaming connection. Kevin McCullough & Stephen Baldwin deserve some credit for putting that together. It had comfortable couches, free video games, great wireless, and cheap snacks. It cost $15 to use for the conference — unless you were a blogger. We got in free. McCullough & Baldwin spent a good bit of time roaming around and I saw Mike Pence, who gave one of the best speeches of the conference, roaming around as well.
Ed Morrissey, who had received a Blogger of the Year award that was intro’d (via video) by Rush Limbaugh showed up, along with his charming wife Marcia and we sat around chatting for 45 minutes. During that time Ed had a few people come up just to talk with him or take pics with him. I made sure to ask them if they’d like to speak to “THE Ed Morrissey” when they did.
Meanwhile, I was prepping for my PJTV interviews. I scored a JD Hayworth interview for them Monday — and it went well, despite the fact that it was my first TV interview. I had a Tim Pawlenty interview coming up — and honestly, it ended up being a little messy. It was the first time I was standing there with a mike, we had like 2 minutes to set up, and he had roughly 3 minutes for the interview. You’d think it would be simple, but because I am so used to doing phone interviews, I don’t normally think about moving a microphone around. Like I said, we got it in the end, but it was still a little sloppy looking. Incidentally, in case you were wondering, Tim Pawlenty is running from his old pro-cap and trade position at full speed. Of course, given the new information about data manipulation and shabby reports, that makes perfect sense.
After the Pawlenty interview, I had the world series of interviews still to go: Ann Coulter. Here’s a little secret: despite her fierce persona, Ann Coulter is actually an extraordinarily nice person — and it’s not just me saying that. I’ve heard at least two people talk about just running into Coulter somewhere, like an airport, and how friendly she was. Unfortunately, she’s such a rock star at an event like CPAC, that she can’t walk 5 feet through the building without security clearing a path through the teeming masses of fans rushing to her side.
Ann showed up at 7 PM, when there wasn’t necessarily a lot going on at CPAC near where we were. Her security told me that we could have her for 10 minutes — which was pretty tight because I was going to be doing a 5 minute interview with her and then Dana Loesch, who absolutely loves Ann, was going to be doing a short interview, too.
So, I do my interview and Ann, as always, delivered. After a John Edwards question that turned into a bit of a bust, I said something like, “Ann, it has been a long time since you’ve gotten into a major controversy, so I have to ask: Have you gone soft on liberals?” I don’t want to give away the response, but let’s just say the word “f@ggot” was used 3 times.
Fun fact: I’m estimating here, but Ann must be 6′ 2″ in heels.
That was my last question and so, I popped up, Dana Loesch jumped into my chair, and got ready to do her interview. About this time, Michael Steele shows up, busts through the growing crowd (It grew to probably 100 people in the 10 minutes Ann was there) and starts talking to Ann. The two of them were very friendly with each other and I got a snap of Ann whispering in Steele’s ear:
I think the PJTV producers were starting to get really worried that Ann and Steele would talk too long and her security would whisk her away before she got in an interview. But, Steele eventually bolted and Dana got in her questions.
Now, you may be wondering: how can you see these wonderful interviews? You just sign up at PJTV. Incidentally, I may not have scored a zillion interviews for PJTV, but I did at least score the two interviews that are headlining their coverage. That pleases me because I always like to give people their money’s worth.
While all these interviews and interview prep was going on, I missed Ryan Sorba getting boo’d off the stage for trashing GOProud.
I’d also like to note that a month ago, when I interviewed Christopher Barron from GOProud, liberal blogs were making a big deal out of the fact that no one from GOProud had been given a speaking slot at CPAC. Well, guess what? Someone from GOProud did end up speaking on a panel.
At this point, you may be saying: you haven’t talked a lot about the speeches and panels for the day. That’s true. There are reasons for that. The building — and even the surrounding area — was particularly tough on the lame little Tracfone I was using. There were times when the sound quality was so bad, I couldn’t even tell whom I was talking to; so I ended up crisscrossing the building back and forth to talk to people over and over again. That’s in addition to heading to events all over the building as well.
Also, even though I don’t consider myself to be a big deal in the conservative movement, between my introducing myself to people, people who recognized me from the blog or Townhall saying hello, and consultants bringing their clients over, I must have personally met somewhere between 100-150 people for the first time over a three day period.
Funny story from dinner: the night before, I had gotten a cheesy sounding email signed “Sharon,” saying she couldn’t make it to dinner. I thought it was from RWN blogger Sharon Soon (who did a superlative job covering CPAC on RWN this week-end) and I wanted to goof on her for the weird email name. So, I wrote back, “What is that, your stripper name?” No response. The next morning I asked Sharon Soon about it and she said it wasn’t her. Whoops! Worse yet — I didn’t even remember inviting another Sharon to dinner. Turns out it was Sharon from The Liberal Heretic, who ended up sitting directly across from me that dinner — right beside of her mother. Thank goodness, I’m great at talking fast. Among other people at dinner were…
After dinner, I packed it in and got ready for the third and final day of CPAC 2010.