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Posted at 03:13 PM ET, 02/10/2012

Mitt Romney’s CPAC speech isn’t conservative in its use of the word ’conservative’


Mitt Romney at CPAC: proud to be a conservative American. (Jeffrey MacMillan)
One of the commandments of campaigning: know thy audience. GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney demonstrated his mastery of this rule at this afternoon’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Romney, who’s struggled to convince the GOP base of his bona fides, uttered the word “conservative” or some variation thereof no fewer than 29 times.

A few highlights: “Now ... is a time to reaffirm what it means to be conservative and why this must be our greatest hour as conservatives.” (Hey, that was a two-fer.)

“We conservatives aren't just proud to cling to our guns and to our religion.”

I know conservatism because I have lived conservatism.” (Ding-ding!)

And, as a bonus, he said “America,” or a variation, 27 times. “Principles” came up six times.

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum was no slouch in the shoutout-to-the-right department, either, though he didn’t match Romney’s numbers. In a speech earlier in the day, he mentioned a variant of the word “conservative” 14 times. “America” got a full 17 mentions, and “principles” came up six times.

By  |  03:13 PM ET, 02/10/2012

 
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