Democrats claim political victory from CPAC

Democrats and President Obama gathered the most momentum from this past weekend's gathering of conservative activists, the party claimed Monday.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) sought to spin the now-concluded Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in their own favor, releasing a web video framing the Republicans who spoke at CPAC -- including a number of possible presidential candidates -- as focused on issues from the past.

"The biggest winners coming out of CPAC were Democrats and the president, as it is clear, based on the presentations there, that Republicans have no message and nothing to offer the public accept re-fighting the political and legislative battles - battles they have already lost," DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse wrote in an email about the new video.

CPAC, the annual gathering of conservatives in Washington, is typically seen as a moment for the GOP's grassroots to organize, and for the party's elected leaders to impress would-be voters.

The conference's straw poll gauging attendees' preference for the next Republican presidential nominee is of particular significance as the 2012 cycle gets underway. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) won the straw poll, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R).

The new video features snippets of speeches by many of the top Republican speakers at the event, calling for the elimination of the Department of Education or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and for the repeal of healthcare reform -- all met with applause by the CPAC audience. Those clips are juxtaposed against excerpts of Obama's State of the Union address and other talking points by Democratic lawmakers.

Democrats sought to spun Republicans' CPAC speeches throughout the weekend with rapid response efforts to soften the blows delivered by Republicans in their speeches. Elements of that debate will play out this coming week as well, as the White House releases its budget for the coming year.

"While President Obama and Democrats are fighting to win the future by out-educating, out-innovating and out-building the rest of the world, the Republican Party on the other hand, as evidenced by its luminaries who spoke at CPAC and what they had to say there, wants to re-fight past battles and have no ideas for creating jobs or making America more globally competitive," said Woodhouse.