"Are you having just too much fun?" Rep. Michele Bachmann gleefully asked a packed room of screaming fans at CPAC Friday morning. "That's the great thing about CPAC, it is the best party of the year!"
After a rough year featuring an aborted presidential run and a too-close-for-comfort congressional race, Bachmann's star may have dimmed on Capitol Hill, but not here, where there was standing room only in a space with seating for over 250. TheTeaParty.Net's Todd Cefaratti's introduction was so effusive that Bachmann joked, "I think that Todd has just nominated me for sainthood, right after the pope!"
But Bachmann was here for another reason than to soak up the praise: She had the honor of handing out the "Blogger of the Year" award, sponsored by a consortium of Tea Party groups and conservative media outlets. "Bloggers are where it's at!" she said.
"Through the miracle of bloggers, we're telling the story" of how conservative values are winning out over liberals, she declared.
This year's CPAC theme is "the next generation of conservatives," and unlike most of the speakers here, who awkwardly hawk their talking points at the young folks like they're aliens, Bachmann spoke effortlessly about social media and being young, like the mother of 28 that she is.
When it came time to present the award, Bachmann called up recipient Julie Borowski, who video blogs under the pen name "Token Libertarian Girl." In her brief remarks accepting the honor, Borowski said she started the blog when she was 22 and living with her parents. "See, you kids need to get a job and move out!" Bachmann joked, expanding on her message of self-responsibility.
After she finished speaking, the crowd rushed Bachmann, leaving Borowski almost alone near the stage, despite the honor. What'd you think of Bachmann, we asked? "She seems nice," Borowski replied tepidly.