From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
WASHINGTON -- Overheard en route to the exhibit hall here at the Omni Shoreham Hotel:
"Where is it?" one man said to another looking for one of the ballrooms.
"To the right," the younger man replied.
"Everything's to the right at this conference."
The Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, the annual gathering of conservative activists, kicked off today and continues through Saturday. Speeches from potential 2012 contenders and big names from the conservative world like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter all get prime speaking slots and will draw much of the buzz.
But below the surface, one of the places that's a can't miss at this conference, is the exhibit hall.
It's the place to find the best color at CPAC, so your First Reader headed there (after checking in with a "Joe the Plumber" panel.)
There were books, like "Obamaland", "The End of Prosperity," even one on "The Nixons: A Family Portrait." There was plenty to go around. (The hottest selling item was John Bolton's latest -- he had just spoken and held a book signing.)
There were five on Ronald Reagan, almost as many on Coulter, Obama and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. There were ones about how the South will rise again as well as "48 Lies About American History (That You're Probably Taught In School)." A couple of those lies: No. 22: The colonies were intolerant and racist and No. 14: Women had no rights in early America.
There was a stand giving out Palin posters. (Sorry, they were out when we got there!) We did manage to grab a glossy Sarah Palin for President 2012 campaign sign -- paid for by the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee.
There was a trailer playing for "Not Evil Just Wrong: The true cost of global warming HYSTERIA" with a photo of Al Gore on its movie poster.
For those wanting some target practice, stop by the National Rifle Association's "Varmint" video shooting range. Young men in suits and ties as well as women in skirts and heels trained their eyes on squirrels scurrying across the hills.
There's much more, but that's just the start.