Here at CPAC, Michele Bachmann kicked things off with a speech that was far, far less entertaining that her usual fare at the Values Voters Summit. Focused on “Obamacare,” anti-government rhetoric, and spools of spending panics, it was clearly intended to appeal to the more fiscally conservative-minded base that shows up here (apparently 11,000 strong, according to organizers, all of whom Bachmann offered to buy drinks for at her reception later this afternoon).
Without ever once invoking God (although there was much invocation of country — “we are the indispensable nation of the world”), Bachmann did make reference to the split between the religious right and CPAC organizers over the latter allowing a gay Republican group to participate in the conference. “A carpenter knows,” said Bachmann, that all three legs of the stool (national security, fiscal conservatism, and social conservatism) have to be strong for the whole stool to be strong. She didn’t say a carpenter from Nazareth, but someone it’s hard to miss that that was what she meant. She is, after all, exploring a presidential run.