Perry: If Only You'd Actually Nominated a Conservative...

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) returned to CPAC this year with the 10th Amendment message that got him as far as he went in the 2012 GOP primary.

The governor also took a stab at that race in arguing that conservatism is not dead: "That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2012 and 2008."

He strode onstage coming "from what many people might see as a foreign country" -- a state with a balanced budget achieved with a part-time legislature.

"If we had a part-time Congress in Washington, would they really get less done?" Perry quipped.

"President Obama is campaigning full-time against the sequester he created," he continued, noting the White House is closed to everyone but well-heeled donors. "It would be laughable if he hadn't taken it one step too far -- dangerously releasing criminals onto our streets."

Perry slammed the administration's release of immigration detainees, with sequestration blamed, as "politics as a craven form of cynicism where everything goes in order to win the next election."

"But he's more than willing to do a photo op to decry spending less than one percent of total budget," he added.

Perry charged "we have turned the Constitution on its head" and let federal government seep into every part of society, saying the "crux of the debate" is whether America will "surrender to a massive welfare state" in the image of Europe.

"We care about our poorest Texans. We want them to have the best care possible... We are compassionate without being cynical."

And don't miss Next Generation's members-only coverage of CPAC 2013 — featuring former Congressman Allen West and Michelle Fields.Click here to learn more.