Conservatives from across the U.S. are at the convention center at National Harbor for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli was there to kick off the event.
Cuccinelli's reputation as attorney general of Virginia preceded him in this crowd of staunch conservatives, as CPAC moderator Katie Pavlich explains in introducing him.
"[He's] really the guy and the man who said "no" to Barack Obama and his government overreach of Obamacare," Pavlich said.
And amongst this like-minded crowd, Cuccinelli wears his battle scars from the Obama Administration with pride. Besides unsuccessfully challenging the healthcare law, he also took on the EPA, winning a suit blocking the agency from regulating storm water runoff in Fairfax County. In touting that suit Cuccinelli was happy to take a swipe at the EPA, to the glee of the audience.
"Or, as I like to call it, the Employment Prevention Agency," Cuccinelli said.
Even though most of CPAC's attendees can't vote in Virginia's gubernatorial contest, Cuccinelli still laid out his ideas for running Virginia, including his plan to simplify the tax code. All told, Cuccinelli says his tea party-flavored conservatism comes from the heart.
"But the one thing that even my staunchest opponents will admit is that I'm a straight shooter and that I'm a man of my word, and when this race is over, they'll still be able to say that," Cuccinelli said.
Cuccinelli also took swipes at his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe, whom he called an "unabashed liberal." Though McAuliffe is gladly basking in the endorsements of three former Republican state legislators, who endorsed him on Wednesday.