Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) made a concerted effort to woo a conservative crowd today by talking about his opposition to gay marriage even before plans to slash the deficit.
He also peppered his speech before a full house at CPAC with the word “conservative,” frequently in the form of “we conservatives.”
“I did some of the very things conservatism is designed for… and I’m not ashamed to say I was successful in doing it,” Romney said for his first standing ovation, and his longest round of applause.
“I served in government but I didn’t inhale,” he said. “I’m still a business guy.”
Romney expressed confidence that he could sail to victory as the Republican nominee, predicting that the party still sans nominee is “poised for victory” in November.
“President Obama, he is the conservative movement’s top recruiter,” he said. “I don’t think this is the community he planned on organizing but he did.”
“Of course we can defeat Barack Obama,” he added. “That’s the easy part.”
But he said conservatives must define why they deserve to lead and articulate to the nation how they will.
“Barack Obama is the poster child for the arrogance of government,” he said in one of several jabs at the commander in chief, calling this election a “battle for the soul of America.”
“He will not be lecturing us on values as a man whose ineptitude and failure has created pain for so many Americans.”
Romney’s comments against gay marriage were foreshadowed by American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas, who brought up traditional marriage in his introduction of Romney.
The former governor said that he fought for a stay on the court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in his state, pushed for a marriage amendment and fought to keep out-of-state gay couples from getting hitched in Massachusetts.
“On my watch I fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage,” he said.