Conservatives cheer Limbaugh, diss Bush

Feb. 28, 2009 at 7:13 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Rush Limbaugh told conservatives at a Washington conference Saturday all they need to win is the right candidate.

Most of the top vote-getters in the annual straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference have already failed to draw support in presidential campaigns. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was the only new face in the group.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the straw poll winner for the third consecutive year, Fox News reported. Romney, who failed to gain traction in the 2008 Republican primary, edged out Jindal, libertarian Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Paul failed to win a single primary last year, and Palin proved to be a drag on the Republican ticket despite her popularity with the Republican right wing.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who supported President Barack Obama's stimulus bill, was 10th in a field of 10.

Limbaugh, the keynote speaker Saturday, was welcomed with a huge burst of applause. The right-wing radio host spent 15 minutes laying out the basic principles of conservatism.

Former President George W. Bush also had little support. Several speakers, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., linked him to Obama, Politico reported.

Romney criticized Bush for failing to develop his own stimulus plan last summer. Criticizing Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, another former presidential hopeful, Mike Huckabee, told the attendees, "You know what kind of conservatives we need most? Competent conservatives," a play on Bush's call in 2000 for compassionate conservatism.

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