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.
As president, he said, he’d push for the Defense of Marriage Act and an amendment to the constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman, as well as placing adoptive children in homes with a mother and a father.
“I was a severely conservative Republican governor,” Romney said. “I have been on those front lines and expect to be on those front lines again.”
He said conservatives have “consistently supported” him because of his record in a “deep blue state.”
After vowing to cut spending, “eliminate ObamaCare,” slash the federal workforce and push entitlement reform, Romney turned back to social issues by vowing to reinstate the Mexico City Policy on Day One, cut federal funding for the UN Population Fund due to its support of China’s one-child policy, and assure organizations like Planned Parenthood receive no more federal backing.
“I will go to Washington, and I will change Washington, and then I’ll go home,” Romney said. “This is our moment. This is why we’re conservatives.”