Reporting from Americans For Prosperity Conference

Posted: Oct 05, 2007 12:30 PM
A bunch of us are at the Americans for Prosperity conference-- the Defending the American Dream Summit-- where 1,300 fiscal conservative activists have gathered to hear from the Big 4 candidates and others.

I've seen Giuliani speak. He was really in his element with the fiscal cons, lots of applause, and didn't mention 9/11 once. He touted his fiscal record in NYC instead, spoke about the need to beat Hillary, and rarely mentioned the other Republican candidates (he may not have mentioned them at all).

Ron Paul made a visit to the press room to talk up his fundraising, which he reported came in at an average of $40 a donation, thereby disproving the prevailing theory on the Paulies that there are just 12 of them who know how to use the Internet really well.

I got John Stossel and Mike Huckabee interviews on tape, and I'm trying to edit that and get it up within a couple hours.

It's worth noting that Americans for Prosperity is a very young organization-- about three years-- and this is its first conference ever. I spoke to Ed Frank, AFP's communications guy, and he attributes the tremendous growth of the group and the tremendous pull of the  conference to the abysmal spending record of the Republicans over the past couple years. The issue does matter to grassroots activists, enough that 1,300 of them came out for an inaugural conference, which is pretty phenomenal, as these things go.

I just saw Fred Thompson speak. He was well-received and the ballroom filled up for him, but I see what people/the press mean about the low-key attitude coming off as boredom and lacklusterism. He had a few good applause lines-- one about judges (which still rules the applause lines in these crowds), about lowering the corporate tax, and one about liberals complaining about lost revenue ("It's not lost! Taxpayers know exactly where it is. It's in their pockets!")-- but many of his points lack oomph. In a smaller crowd, with the Virginia AFP delegation, he was about the same.

Update: Here's some of Huckabee, courtesy my friend Bruce of Gay Patriot.