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CPAC From the Pennsylvania Perspective

By Jessica V. Marinaccio, Contributing Writer

For those who traveled from Pennsylvania to DC last weekend to take part in the Conservative Political Action Conference, you weren’t alone. Individuals from nearly every part of the country, but there was a notably large number of attendees from the tri-state area (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania). I caught up with several Pennsylvanian students to get their post-CPAC opinions on the weekend.

The most common reaction was surprise at the variety of conservative view points represented at the conference, and support for that sense of a big tent.

“I thought CPAC was great for conservatives, moderates, libertarians, and liberty-minded people in general,” said Dave Perez, of Scranton, “There was more than enough to do and honestly I have no complaints aside from wishing there was a bigger capacity in the main ballroom where the major speakers gave their presentations.”

Mary-Elizabeth Metzo of Wilkes-Barre noted, “It was interesting to see how many different people of different ideologies can still find a way to come together collectively as conservatives while maintaining a respect for one another. I have often felt that many of my views do not align with mainstream conservatives but being at CPAC allowed me to encounter other people who I felt were more in sync with my viewpoints.”

Highlights for Miss Metzo included seeing “A strong grassroots effort at CPAC” and an event called the Liberty Forum, sponsored by “Campaign for Liberty” wherein Congressman Ron Paul (the straw poll winner) and his son Senator Rand Paul were able to address topics in a more informal setting.

Fernando Ardila-Giraldo of Scranton also noticed the unanimously diverse degrees of conservatism apparent at CPAC: “There was a sense of camaraderie. Yes, there are some differences, but at the same time, all who were present there were able to find some common ground in regards to the economy. The Republican Party it appears, is in the process of evolving…with reaffirming some of its core values and going back to its roots…CPAC was nothing short of amazing.”

More collective opinions were naturally geared towards the speakers. Names that were amongst the favorites for Mike Shaw (Scranton) were Herman Cain, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Ann Coulter, and Wayne Lapierre to name a few.

Congressman Allen West of Florida was also considered particularly notable; Shaw stated, “I think Allen West brought down the house as the keynote speaker.”

Jack Dean of Scranton agreed. “He [West] spoke with great passion and had a tremendous love for his country. Although I didn’t know much about the Congressman before CPAC, I know now that he is a great American.”

For many Pennsylvania attendees, CPAC ended with positive reviews and plans to return next year. Considering the estimated amount of attendees was around 11,000 for 2011 and 2012 being an election year, it seems safe to say that next year’s conference will have a full house.

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