Feb. 11, 2011: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty signs books at the Conservative Political Acction Conference in Washington.
Feb. 11, 2011: A woman dressed as Sarah Palin is seen at the Conservative Political Acction Conference in Washington.
Feb. 11, 2011: Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, signs books at the Conservative Political Acction Conference in Washington.
Participants at CPAC get riled up on Thursday morning, the first day of the three-day conservative political action festival.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who called depictions of his recent comments about Sarah Palin the work of reporters' imaginations, is one of the unknowns in a 2012 presidential bid.
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey is the former head of the Club for Growth, making him a big-time champion for fiscal conservatives demanding Congress stop its spendthrift ways.
Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann kicked off CPAC with repeated calls to the audience that she is one of them, a point they will weigh after she offered to buy drinks for everyone at an evening reception.
Freshman Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson came out of the blue last year to defeat Sen. Russ Feingold, making him a liberal-slaying hero to conservatives.
The Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual free-for-all of conservative thought, convened Thursday for a three-day party that brings together 11,000 conservative activists, opinion shapers and lawmakers to develop their strategy for the coming year. This year's event features at least 10 of the would-be 2012 Republican presidential candidates, all trying to send a convincing message home with the grassroots leaders who will fan out across the country to share their views about those best suited to lead the future.