The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) begins today and runs through Saturday. Follow TPM for live updates and reports. Here are ten things you need to know.
- Gingrich polling ahead in Oklahoma: Newt Gingrich is winning in Oklahoma according to a new poll by the American Research Group: 34% support Gingrich to 31% supporting Mitt Romney. Romney has until Super Tuesday, when Oklahomans head to the polls, to take a few votes from Newt’s column.
- Romney and Gingrich tied in North Carolina poll: The latest numbers from Public Policy Polling show Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich tied with 30% each in North Carolina. Santorum’s in 3rd place with 20%. PPP indicates the results contradict the theory that Romney can’t do well in the south.
- Ron Paul skipping CPAC: CPAC starts Thursday and on Friday all of the presidential candidates are speaking except for Ron Paul. The CPAC website indicates this is because of a scheduling conflict resulting from Paul’s presidential campaign. The other candidates will speak at the conference on Friday.
- Romney continues to use earmark attack against Santorum: Just as Santorum campaigns in Oklahoma, the Romney camp sends out more emails linking Santorum to earmarks. “Oklahoma’s favorite son, Will Rogers, said he never met a man he didn’t like. Senator Santorum, on the other hand, apparently never met an earmark he didn’t like,” Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho’s statement read.
- Democrats criticize Romney before Maine caucuses close: The week-long caucuses in Maine close Saturday. On a conference call Thursday, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Maine Democratic Party vice-chair Janet Mills will attack Romney’s economic record as it pertains to Maine.
- Rick Perry addresses CPAC Thursday: Having kept his head down since suspending his presidential campaign, Rick Perry will speak at CPAC at 1:20pm.
- Santorum raises $1 million after Tuesday’s wins: Rick Santorum, who has a tiny war chest compared to the other candidates, particularly Mitt Romney, raised over $1 million in the 24 hours since his victories Tuesday in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. He had a similar burst of support after winning Iowa last month.
- Santorum attacks Obama and Prop 8 ruling: Rick Santorum attacked both President Obama and the 9th Circuit Court’s decision to strike down California’s ballot initiative ending gay marriage. Obama is “all about appointing justices who think that the family is simply an institution that gets in the way of government directly controlling your life,” Santorum said.
- Romney heads to Maine Friday: Mitt Romney will make his first appearance in Maine on Friday, the day before the results of the Maine caucus results are announced. Thus far, only Ron Paul has campaigned in Maine as part of his focus on caucus states.
- Candidates’ light schedules continue: February’s lull between primaries is giving candidates the chance to step off the gas a bit. Only Rick Santorum is holding events today in Oklahoma, a Super Tuesday state. Santorum will be on CNN with John King USA at 6pm Thursday.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.