Limbaugh Rallies Conservatives to Fight Democrats, Find 'Right Candidate'

Rush Limbaugh was 15 minutes early to the stage, but no one was complaining Saturday evening in Washington, D.C., at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Quite the contrary. On the conference's third and final day, the conservative talk radio host was the headliner, and the crowd greeted him with an immense ovation.

"Ladies and gentleman, this is my first ever address to the nation," Limbaugh joked, noting that FOX News and C-SPAN were broadcasting the speech live.

Limbaugh then spent his first 15 minutes giving an impassioned summary of what it means to be a conservative before turning the focus to the movement's recent electoral record.

"We can take this country back. All we need is to nominate the right candidate," he said.

The speech was the culmination of an event that featured often fiery speeches by some of the top names of the conservative movement and the Republican party, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and conservative commentator Ann Coulter.

Earlier Saturday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, another failed GOP candidate, won his third straight presidential straw poll at the annual conference, edging out Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rep. Ron Paul and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who expressed support for President Obama's $787 economic stimulus plan, finished last of the 10 named choices.

The straw poll is not binding. Romney won last year by 35 percent over Sen. John McCain, Huckabee and Paul, though McCain later was nominated by the GOP.

It may have surprised some in attendance at the event to hear Limbaugh praising President Obama -- at least at first.

Despite mocking Obama's regular use of a teleprompter, Limbaugh called the president "one of the most gifted politicians, one of the most gifted men I have ever witnessed. He has extraordinary talent."

But, he added, "It just breaks my heart that he has not used that extraordinary talent and gift to motivate and inspire the American people to be the best that they can be. He's doing just the opposite."

Limbaugh didn't hold back for most of the rest of his speech in skewering liberals, Democrats and the new president on a wide ranges of issues, including Obama's massively costly stimulus package and budget plan.

"It's not new. It's not change. And it's not hope," he said.

Obama is still in the "honeymoon phase," Limbaugh said, but conservatives shouldn't get discouraged.

"We are not quitting. We are not giving up," he said. "The country is too important."

Click below to view Rush Limbaugh's speech at CPAC:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7