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Posted at 11:33 AM ET, 02/14/2011

CPAC Winners and Losers

By Chris Cillizza

We devoted our Monday Fix newspaper column to a look at the winners and losers from last week's Conservative Political Action Conference.

A few of the best (and worst) are below. You can check out the whole piece here.

WINNERS

Mitt Romney: For the former Massachusetts governor, the expected front-runner in the 2012 nomination fight, his goal with his CPAC speech was to do no harm. He did far better than that with a very well-received address and a strong second-place finish in the straw poll.

Michele Bachmann: No candidate benefited more from the absence of social conservative rock stars Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee than the Minnesota congresswoman.

LOSERS

Ron Paul: Yes, he won the straw poll for the second straight year. But his speech -- heavy on talk of defunding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as odd pronouncements such as "Government should never be able to do anything you can't do" -- displayed the limits of his reach within the GOP.

Rick Santorum: CPAC attendees should have been a perfect fit for the former senator's brand of social conservatism. And, for those who watched his speech, the former Pennsylvania Senator did just fine. But, the room was less than two-thirds full during his remarks - an attendance issue that highlighted his potential difficulties in breaking through in the crowded field.

By Chris Cillizza  | February 14, 2011; 11:33 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2012  
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