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Huff Post – Posted: 2/11/12  |  Updated: 2/11/12

Mitt Romney won this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll.

Rick Santorum came in second, with Newt Gingrich in third place and Ron Paul in fourth. Here’s a breakdown of the results for the presidential contenders:

Romney: 38%

Santorum: 31%

Gingrich: 15%

Paul: 12%

Romney addressed the crowd at CPAC on Friday.

“My path to conservatism came from my family, from my faith and from my life’s work,” the former Massachusetts governor said in his remarks. “Those aren’t values that I just talk about. They’re values I live every day.”

HuffPost’s Jon Ward reported on the message conveyed by Romney:

Romney defended his one term as governor of Massachusetts, saying he erased a large deficit to balance the budget, eliminated government agencies and applied the lessons of private enterprise to running the state government.”I want to get my hands on Washington, DC,” Romney said.

He detailed a laundry list of pledges to the crowd about social issues, saying that if elected president he would fight for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, that he would reinstate the Mexico City policy, that he would cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund — which he said “supports China’s barbaric One Child Policy” — and that he would cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Paul placed first in the CPAC straw poll in 2010 and 2011.

This is a developing story… More information to come…

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First Posted: 02/ 9/2012 12:02 pm Updated: 02/ 9/2012  1:16 pm

Huff Post

By – Howard Fineman

WASHINGTON — Conservatives begin their annual jamboree here Thursday certain of two things, although they don’t say them out loud. They need another Ronald Reagan. They don’t have another Ronald Reagan.

Invoking the Gipper is almost a religious requirement on the Republican campaign trail this year, but none of the presidential candidates is convincingly channeling the true Reagan spirit: He spent a lifetime thinking through the conservative movement and turning it into a salable set of ideas.

Rather than serving as a unifying moment, the four-day Conservative Political Action Conference, now in its 39th year, has become a symbol of a sprawling, ultimately incoherent movement that has yet to develop a new synthesis for a new century.

“The one thing that unites everybody is a hatred of Barack Obama,” said Craig Shirley, a CPAC veteran and one of Reagan’s newest and best biographers. “But hatred of the president is not a governing philosophy.”

The 2012 GOP race is divided into the shards of the old alliance, with Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul each appealing to different pieces of the now-shattered right and Mitt Romney acting the colorless “establishment” leader in a party without them. It feels more like the end of an era than the beginning of one, even though, paradoxically, this year’s CPAC may well set a record for attendance and revenue.

Once CPAC was a launching pad for presidents, especially Reagan. This week, the Woodstock of the Right looks more like a trade show for new products. Somewhere in the crowded corridors and meeting rooms, there may be a new generation in the making. But you’re unlikely to hear it in speeches from the presidential candidates.

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