NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio on Thursday offered the Republican Party a glimpse of alternate futures in dueling speeches that revved up two distinct groups of conservative activists.
Speaking back to back to political activists attending the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Florida’s Rubio offered a broad vision more grounded in the three-legged coalition of social, national security and fiscal conservatives that has defined GOP governing since Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980.
Kentucky’s Paul focused his remarks on constitutional liberty and social libertarianism, specifically calling on the Republican Party to change and evolve from the “stale, moss-covered” party he said it has become into a movement that appeals to the younger “Facebook generation” of voters that he claims questions the viability of Social Security and wants the government to leave them alone.
“I think they were both good speeches,” said Wayne Morgan, a Washington, D.C., activist and consultant sporting a Ken Cuccinelli for Virginia governor sticker. “Rubio’s speech seemed to resound, I would say, with the whole crowd. Paul’s message of freedom, rights, small-government definitely hits most of this crowd.”
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