CPAC 2011 Friday Afternoon
In a small room at CPAC, Andrew Ian Dodge announced he's running against Olympia Snowe in the 2012 Maine Republican primary. There were about 20 people there. I'd met Dodge a couple of years ago at CPAC, but I didn't speak to him much and can't say I know him.
Been expecting Republicans to challenge Snowe in the primary. It seems like a sure thing, but Snowe won't have much to worry about with Dodge.
Dodge isn't a great speaker. He's not even an okay speaker. His thoughts ramble. He doesn't stay on a point very long before going on a tangent. He's unsure of himself even with a small group of conservatives. Makes me wonder how he'll be if he's working with a hostile audience.
He's running against Snowe, he says, because she voted to report an early version of Obamacare out of committee, and he thinks that allowed it to come to a vote in the full senate when it otherwise would not have. “I’m convinced Snowe made a deal with Obama to vote Obamacare out of committee," he said.
Andrew Ian Dodge
As you can see, looks aren't a strong point either. He said he's “Maine coordinator for the Tea Party.”
He wasn't born in Maine but his family has been in the state a long time. His father was a “casual clammer.” He said he was the first to organize a Tea Party rally in Maine, which he refers to as “Tea Party Patriots.”
McKeever said, “You dislike social conservatives, don’t you?”
“No,” said Dodge.
He’s against funding Planned Parenthood, but for monetary reasons, not pro-life reasons. He doesn't plan to take a position on abortion. "[There's a] perception by some that the tea party movement should be a Christian Crusade. I’m a conservative with faith, just don’t happen to share theirs.”
“What do you think about conservative Maine Governor Paul LePage’s support of Snowe?” someone asked him.
"Snowe’s first husband got LePage a bye on the SAT when he was applying to college because he was French," said Dodge. "He's personally loyal to Snowe for that."
I left the little room and went back to the big ballroom for Senator John Thune.John Thune and the crowd
He came onstage to polite applause. I’d heard he’s thinking of running for president and many think he will. I’d seen one profile on him on TV and he seemed fine.
Again, I wanted to be in the room to hear him and feel how the audience perceived him. They liked him but, as with Romney, they weren't passionate about him. After listening to him for ten minutes, I wasn't either.
I want a conservative candidate for president with passion. So does most of America. If one emerges with no skeletons in his closet, he or she would defeat Obama.Thune looks good and he seems sincere if rehearsed, like he's practiced this speech a lot. This was the base here in the big room and they’re not fired up. I could list the individual things he said, but I won’t. They were all good to this conservative writer, but again - I want passion too. Am I expecting too much?