Cardenas to Newsmax: Energized Conservatives Rallying to Romney

Thursday, 04 Oct 2012 08:33 PM

By Todd Beamon and John Bachman

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s surprise appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Denver on Thursday “was almost like an Elvis sighting,” Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, told Newsmax.TV.

“He was not an expected speaker. He was not expected to come – and then when his four sons got to the stage and said that there was a meeting, but they had a substitute and brought in Mitt Romney, the house almost went down,” Cardenas, whose organization sponsors the conference, told Newsmax in an exclusive interview.

“It was the most exciting moment that Mitt’s experienced in my presence at a CPAC. Everyone in the crowd – and these are staunch conservatives – stood up to applaud him numerous times. No one sat down. Everybody stood still standing up while he was giving his speech. He got a lot of standing ovations, obviously.

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“And then when he left, I said to myself, ‘I’ve never seen conservatives as energized for Mitt in the six years I’ve been with him as in this whole campaign process,’ Cardenas added. “And the momentum is coming at the right time, because that intensity is critical to a win in November.”

Romney’s visit – on the heels of winning his first debate with President Barack Obama on Wednesday night – proved that the former Massachusetts governor has won over the GOP’s most conservative wing, Cardenas said.

“I assure you that 60 percent of the audience here – we have over 1,500 people – did not vote for Mitt in the primary,” he said. “What I saw here today is that that 100 percent of that crowd was enthusiastically behind Mitt, crazy about his performance last night.

“This whole thing’s finally come together after what he did last night – and every aspect of our party, every part of our wheelhouse, is working together for the final 30 days – and that momentum is a big, big deal because turnout will probably, ultimately, decide this election.”

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And getting out the vote – on several levels – is most critical as Nov. 6 approaches, Cardenas said.

“There’s one reason we’re here in Colorado, and that it’s a swing state and the election’s practically tied,” Cardenas said. “But you still need all of these activists to go home, find 10 or 15 people just like them, go to a different office to make phone calls, knock on neighbors’ doors, give $25 or $50 contributions, $5 contributions – and help us in the homestretch.”

“There’s 30 days left. And what we do here in Colorado is to help that whole movement take place in a major way at this critical state.

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He said that the enthusiasm and energy that Romney has sparked in his campaign during the last two days is likely to resonate.

“But around the country, the same thing’s happening,” he said. “What happened here today with Mitt being here became a national story – and people around the country are excited not only about what happened last night, but with the reception he’s had with conservatives here in Colorado.”



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