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Allen West closes CPAC promising ‘new dawn in America’

Freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) gave a speech to close this year’s
Conservative Political Action Conference that earned a more
enthusiastic reaction from conservative activists than those given by
most rumored 2012 presidential hopefuls over the past three days.

The first-term congressman brought the audience to its feet several
times late Saturday, repudiating President Obama’s social and economic
policies and promising “a new dawn in America.”

{mosads}West took the coveted speaking slot that was rejected by former Alaska
Gov. Sarah Palin, who declined to attend CPAC for the fourth straight

West, who represents a district that voted for President Obama in 2008
and Sen. John Kerry in 2004, will be a top Democratic target next year
and opened his speech by noting the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee has already run a radio ad in his district.

West told the crowd that despite what the “liberal media” might say
about his electoral vulnerability in 2012, “standing here before each
and every one of you, I don’t feel so vulnerable, do I.”

West, who touted efforts by House Republicans to push for some $100
billion in spending cuts, offered a closing keynote that was chock
full of red meat for the base.

West said now is the time to reform the tax code, lower taxes on
business, eliminate the capital gains tax and fight for the adoption of
a Constitutional balanced budget amendment.

“I say we start looking at every government agency and program that’s
been created in the last ten years, and let’s start making some hard
choices,” said West, who received a loud cheer when he singled out the
Environmental Protection Agency.

He said “liberal progressivism” has failed all over the world and he
devoted a sizable portion of his speech to social issues, emphasizing
his opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

“If you break down the American family, that leads to government
dependency,” said West.

On abortion, he said, “I do not believe having a baby is punishment.”

West spoke of Friday’s “historic moment” in Egypt with the resignation
of longtime President Hosni Mubarak, but he held up the Iranian
revolution as a cautionary tale and recalled the rise of the Taliban
in Afghanistan.

“History has a way of teaching you a very bad lesson if we don’t
listen,” he said.

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