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GOP watch: Day 1 at CPAC

“U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann opened the Conservative Political Action Conference [yesterday] by urging Republican activists to make Barack Obama ‘a one-term president,’” Bloomberg writes. “Referring to the overhaul of the U.S. health-care system that Obama pushed into law last year, the Minnesota Republican said, ‘Obamacare is clearly the crown jewel of socialism, and repealing it is the driving motivation of my life.’”

“Former House speaker Newt Gingrich called for replacing the Environmental Protection Agency with an ‘environmental solutions agency’ as part of a broader re-assessment of American energy policy in his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference today in Washington,” the Washington Post’s Cillizza writes.

New York Times: “Gingrich called his party’s 2010 midterm victories ‘the appetizer’ and said ‘2012 is the entrée’ in a speech to conservative activists on Thursday. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Gingrich declared that ‘Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan.’ But he offered a pointed suggestion to the audience: invite President Obama to give the keynote speech at the conference next year.”

“One theme of Rick Santorum's CPAC speech was that President Obama has his priorities all wrong, because he ‘doesn't believe America is exceptional,’ does see America as a ‘force for disruption, and even evil,’ and won't ‘say that jihadism is evil,’ Talking Points Memo recounts. “Santorum also called social issues ‘the issues that bind us,’ and that when it comes to those issues, ‘just because it's not popular doesn't mean it's not true.’”

The Washington Post on CPAC's first day: "There was, as always, a carnival atmosphere, with attendees scurrying about the hotel and exhibitors peddling books, posters and political philosophies. Despite a boycott by some conservative groups protesting the participation of GOProud, an organization that supports gay rights, there was little evidence of a real battle for attention between social and fiscal conservatives."

“It was Donald Trump, a real estate investor who became a reality show star, who finally got the crowd's 2012 election juices going on the first day of the Conservative Political Action Committee conference. And it sure sounded like the Donald was running for president,” Time writes. “’Considering the state of the country we need a competitive person,’ Trump said, after noting the Business Week had named him ‘the world's most competitive business person.’”

Politico: “CPAC to Trump: You're hired!”