Talked to a couple of Romney staffers. Plans are still up in the air over whether to attend the Lincoln Day Dinner event in Baltimore tonight, which McCain is scheduled to attend.
12:43pm Eastern. I’m starting a new thread for Romney’s speech…awaiting his official announcement of the suspension of his campaign. And possible endorsement today of John McCain.
Laura Ingraham continues to warm up the crowd. “It’s not enough to say you’re a footsoldier for Reagan. The question is: “What have you done for conservatism lately?”
LI introduction: “Mitt Romney is the conservative’s conservative. Above all, he is a class act.”
Romney enters. Loud applause, standing ovation. Tanks talk radio.
I love being introduced as the conservative’s conservative.
I look forward to joining you many, many more times in the future…
…To all of you, thank you here for caring enough about america to show up to speak up to stand up for conservative principles…
Conservative principles are needed now more than ever…face a new generation of challenges…unless america changes course we could become the france of the 21st century…
He’s very energetic.
“Culture makes all the difference…The threat to our culture comes from within. welfare state. dependency is culture killing. we’ve got to fight it like the poison that it is. (Applause.)”
Talks about fatherless children.
It’s time for the people of America to fortify marriage by constitutional amendment so liberal judges cannot attack it.
Europe is facing a demographic disaster…Stand up for family values and morality and culture. Conservatives here and across the country will always be honored to stand on and for principle.
We face economic competition unlike any we’ve known before…China and Asia…if we don’t change, they will pass us by as world superpowers.
Invest in nuclear energy, clean coal, etc. Cheers and applause. Simply put, America must never be held hostage by the likes of Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadenjiad.
Segues to government spending. Let’s not just focus on pork. Any plan for the future must include entitlement reform. We have to solve it, not just acknowledge it.
Government workers make more than private sector employees. Lower taxes. take a weed whacker. stand up to the increasingly voracious appetites of the unions in our government.
And finally…the threat of radical violent jihad…they hate everything we believe about freedom, just as we hate everything they believe about radical jihad…
But there’s an important difference from 1976. Today we are a nation at war.
I disagree with sen mccain on a number of issues…(audience boos) but i agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be succesful in iraq…
And i agree with him on eliminating al qaeda…
If i fight on in my campaign all the way to the convention, i want you to know that i forestall the launch of a national campaign.
Frankly in this time of a war, I cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.
This isn’t an easy decision. I hate to lose.
…Not just about me…i entered this race because i love america. i feel i have to now stand aside.
We cannot allow the next president of the United States to retreat in the face of evil extremism.
Romney makes a rousing exit.
Afterward, a CPAC official moved on to the next session and mentioned John McCain’s appearance this afternoon.
The mere mention of his name provoked a fresh round of boos.