Texas Senator Ted Cruz was the keynote speaker at CPAC, a gathering in suburban Washington that touts itself as the oldest and largest among conservatives.
"Do we surrender or do we stand up now?" Cruz repeatedly asked the crowd. He and other freshman senators, like Kentucky's Rand Paul represent a new generation of leaders clashing with the old guard, among them Arizona Senator John McCain, who earlier called Rand and Cruz "Whacko Birds" though McCain has since apologized.
Saturday, Cruz embraced the label. "If standing for Liberty and standing for the Constitution makes you a Whacko Bird then count me a proud Whacko Bird!"
Cruz said he'd detected a defeatist attitude among Republicans and Washington -- and vowed to continue the conservative battle.
"You cut taxes, you cut spending, you reduce the debt and you don't send regulators like locusts to destroy small businesses and jobs."
Earlier in the conference, Cruz made a surprise appearance to introduce former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
"Well, as all of you know I am not remotely cool enough to be Sarah Palin." Cruz thanked Palin for backing him and other Tea Party favorites. "The mainstream media is absolutely convinced that women can't be conservative. And, if they can are they especially cannot shoot really big guns and hunt grizzly bears in the woods. Let me tell you that's why Governor Sarah Palin drives the mainstream media bat crap crazy."
Once onstage -- Palin returned the compliment. "Here Ted Cruz, like a good Texan, he comes to town chewing barbed wire and spitting out rust. That's what we need."
Rand Paul won the annual CPAC straw poll, narrowly edging out Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Cruz finished tied for 7th.
KDFW FOX 4
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