In his first major public appearance since November, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Mitt Romney will return to Washington for the conference next month, according to a report by the National Review.
Romney has kept a relatively low profile since the election and has since camped out at his La Jolla, California, home. The speech at CPAC marks the first public speech Romney will give since his loss. Since November, Romney has returned to Washington only twice–once to have lunch with President Obama and a second time for a luncheon with campaign donors.
“The thousands gathered at CPAC this year are eager to hear from the former 2012 GOP presidential candidate at his first public appearance since the elections,” said American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas. “We look forward to hearing Gov. Romney’s comments on the current state of affairs in America and the world, and his perspective on the future of the conservative movement.”
At a speech to the conference last year, Romney labeled himself as “severely conservative,” hoping to shore up support from the Republican base. Later in the election cycle he tacked to the center, emerging in the first debate as Moderate Mitt. Voters who were looking for a conservative were disappointed, and those who were hoping for a more moderate candidate saw him as someone with no reliable core.
Romney has won four CPAC straw polls in past years, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell expressed his excitement for Romney’s speech. “Today CPAC announced that they’ve landed the bigger loser of them all — Mitt Romney.”
O’Donnell continued, “So CPAC has rewritten its position on Romney from cheering wildly when Ann Coulter said it would be a mistake to nominate him in 2011, to cheering him as the Republican nominee last year, to this year inviting him to give the keynote address at their losers conference. This offers some suspense for the event. Will Romney be cheered for saying extreme conservative stuff that everyone knows he doesn’t mean or will be booed for being a loser? And most importantly, what will he add to the Romney greatest hits reel?”
The National Review reports that his speech will have an “optimistic” tone and focus on economic issues.
The conference is scheduled for March 14–16 at National Harbor, Md. Sarah Palin, Rep. Paul Ryan, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rand Paul are scheduled to speak at the event.