CPAC wingnuts' greatest hits: 18 outrageous things its top speakers have said in public

With the right-wing confab starting today, here are some golden oldies -- like comparing gay people to alcoholics

Published March 6, 2014 1:30PM (EST)

Clockwise, from top left: Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Wayne LaPierre.     (Jeff Malet,
Clockwise, from top left: Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Wayne LaPierre. (Jeff Malet,

Starting today, conservative activists converge in Maryland – along with a healthy complement of journalists (this one included) – to hear from top Republicans and leading voices of the modern right. Controversy is basically inevitable.

But CPAC's top stars will have a high bar to clear if they want to outdo themselves in the provocation department. Here are some head-turning past comments from headliners highlighted on CPAC’s site -- on black people, gay people, "takers" and much more:

“Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And, even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender.” – Rick Perry, 2008

“After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia.” – Wayne LaPierre, 2013

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country … It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” – Rick Santorum, 2011

“More background checks? Dandy idea, Mr. President. Shoulda started with yours.” – Sarah Palin, 2013

“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what the recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s [the age of the Earth] a dispute amongst theologians, and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.” – Marco Rubio, 2012

“Probably the most heartwarming experiences I’ve had over the last several days is when naturalized American citizens, who have immigrated here from Germany, Iran, and other countries, they come up to me and they say: Why are we doing what so many have fled from? … [T]hese people who’ve lived under socialist type economies, and totalitarianism, they know where we’re headed if we don’t turn things around.” – Jim DeMint, 2009

“You know, something may go down tonight, but ain’t gonna be jobs, sweetheart.” – Chris Christie, 2012

“[I]f we can redefine marriage … based on social pressures as opposed to between a man and a woman, we will continue to redefine it in any way that we wish, which is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire.” – Ben Carson, 2012

“A president who is not bound by the law is no longer a president. And if you love liberty that should concern you greatly.” – Ted Cruz, 2014

“Having a dozen people murdered in a [Aurora] movie theater gets our attention … Ultimately, we don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military, and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.” – Mike Huckabee, 2012

“The Constitution doesn’t give Congress the power to redistribute our wealth.” – Mike Lee, 2010

“The trend in deregulation, beginning in the early 1980s, is one of the biggest reasons for the sustained economic expansion. I would like to see us continue to deregulate on many fronts, including the financial services industry.” – Pat Toomey, 1999

“It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.” – Bobby Jindal, 2013

“Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes. So we’re going to a majority of takers versus makers in America and that will be tough to come back from that. They’ll be dependent on government [rather] than themselves.” – Paul Ryan, 2010

“Terrorism kills, and Barbara Boxer is worried about the weather.” – Carly Fiorina, 2010

“A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market …If I was starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black because I really do believe they have the actual advantage.” – Donald Trump, 1989

“We need to know, for example, whether [Sonia Sotomayor]’s going to be a justice for all of us, or just a justice for a few of us.” – John Cornyn, 2009

“Well what it [banning racial discrimination at lunch counters] gets into then is if you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant even though the owner of the restaurant says ‘well no’ … Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant? – Rand Paul, 2010

By Josh Eidelson

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