Romney At CPAC

Mitt Romney just gave his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which started today; I've been watching livestreaming, and also have a copy of Romney's speech. As I have suggested, his emphasis is now entirely on foreign-policy and economic issues (and how to strengthen America, rather than weaken it as Obama is doing, in his view).

Those issues have always been the main emphasis for Romney, but during the 2008 election cycle he made sure to also throw in plenty of the social-conservative agenda as well.

Three years ago, Romney used CPAC 2007 to make an early splash in his Presidential run -- and he spoke directly about "social conservatism," claiming that as governor "I have stood in the center of every battlefield on every major social issue." He talked specifically about fighting against same-sex marriage, and his backing for a "federal marriage amendment"; he gave a shout-out to the "sanctity of life" and opposing abortion; and he spoke quite a bit about denying benefits to illegal immigrants, protecting the borders, and English-only education.

In 2008, Romney used his CPAC appearance to withdraw from the Presidential race; in his speech, he again professed his support for a federal marriage-protection amendment; spoke of the importance of culture to America's greatness; bemoaned the attack on faith and religion; gave a shout-out to the "sanctity of human life"; blamed out-of-wedlock births on the "tolerance for pornography, even celebration of it, and sexual promiscuity, combined with the twisted incentives of government welfare"; and insisted that "we will not be dissuaded by the snickers and knowing glances when we stand up for family values and morality and culture."

His 2009 speech dropped almost all of the social-agenda stuff -- but he did include a few bones for that crowd, including a line about "courts that have undermined the fundamental right to life" and have "shown an equal disregard for... the rights of religious freedom."

Today's speech, by contrast, made absolutely no mention of any of those issues.

The crowd seemed to react well enough to him (although, they were even more enthused for a brief surprise appearance by Scott Brown, introducing him). Other potential 2012 candidates will speak over the next couple of days; we'll see what they talk about.

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