"Here's the simple truth about our foreign policy: Our allies doubt us and our adversaries are all too willing to test us," he said.
Perry, however, devoted the crux of his appearance to bashing Obama, whose years in office he compared to some of the worst catastrophes to befall the country in recent generations. "This country's been through a lot. We went through a civil war; two world wars; we will survive the Obama years too," he said.
The four-day CPAC is commonly regarded by conservatives as a testing ground for likely presidential candidates. Carson hasn't said whether he will run.
Jeb Bush sought to arrange a meeting between his father and exile leaders. He called for economic sanctions that would "tighten the noose on Castro." And he questioned the Justice Department's prosecution of a Cuban militant who had already been incarcerated in "Castro's jail for 23 years."
Jeb Bush also sought a promotion for an Army colonel who he noted could become the first United States general of Cuban origin. The president's staff thought better of acting on that request. "Armed Services promotion board reacts very negatively to any sort of political pressure, perceived or otherwise," wrote one of his father's top aides.
According to an audio recording of the event, he said Putin had taken the measure of Obama. "I don't believe, given who I am, that he would make the same judgment," Christie said. "Let's leave it at that." One attendee described Christie's answer as disturbingly heavy on swagger and light on substance.
Christie places tremendous value on the personal projection of authority, as evidenced by his suggestion that Putin would think twice about challenging him. "Foreign policy, in my view, is about human relationships," Christie said at an American Enterprise Institute conference. "Men and women across the world judge each other," Christie said, "and they take a measure of the person based on your actions and your words." With Obama, he said mockingly, "words matter more to him than actions."
The former president's views on Israel are not the only ones to make his grandson squirm. Of the elder Carter's call to ban the death penalty, his grandson said, "I love my grandfather, but we disagree."
The elder Mr. Carter has plunged into his grandson's campaign. "He got elected governor of Georgia by shaking 600,000 hands," the younger Mr. Carter said. "That's what he would tell you: 'You've got to go to the grocery store and shake everybody's hand.' "
Rubio sought to link the right's resolute belief in American exceptionalism with a call for the US to play a more robust role in confronting bad actors on the world stage: "There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarianism," Rubio told CPAC attendees, offering a tour d'horizon of affairs in China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Russia.
That posture stands in contrast with Sen. Rand Paul, who argues that the US should be wary of foreign intervention.
DIOGUARDI REFUTATION: After leaving Congress, DioGuardi worked to end the genocide of Albanians in the former Yugoslavia. He traveled from safe house to safe house collecting documents that revealed the gruesome realities that were occurring; he shared these with Congress, and thereby qualifies as a lobbyist. While DioGuardi was fighting genocide, Gillibrand worked to help Philip Morris, and maintains strong ties with Big Tobacco.
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