Day 1 Values Voters Summit 2013 Live-Blog

About Eric Ethington

Eric Ethington is PRA's Communications Director, and has been specializing in political messaging, communications strategy, and public relations for more than a decade. Originally from Salt Lake City, he also has a background in electoral politics and his writing, advocacy work, and research have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, the New York Times, The Telegraph, and The Public Eye magazine. He has also worked as a radio host, pundit, blogger, and activist. Follow him on Twitter at @EricEthington

Welcome to Political Research Associates’ live-blog of the 2013 Values Voters Summit in Washington DC. Refresh for updates!

9:00 a.m. EST:

Family Research Council opened the proceedings by proclaiming the government shutdown is merely a “slowdown,” similar to being stuck in “a perpetual TSA line.” He also had some stage hands come up to remove barracades that had been placed on the stage “by Obama.”

9:10 a.m. EST: 

Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee was introduced by FRC President Tony Perkins as “one of the original architects” of using a government shutdown to defund Obamacare. Lee himself lambasted Congress, blaming the widespread government disfunction on politicians forgetting to honor conservative values. Lee went on to thanks Republican Senator Ted Cruz for his work on beginning the shutdown. “We make no apologies, and we stand with you!”

Lee had an odd moment when he said conservatives “understand we’re not all on our own, we’re all in this together,” which was a line repeated over and over at the 2012 Democratic Convention by Democrats.

While many Republicans are pointing out that the more Republicans focus on anti-equality stances, Senator Lee charged right through, saying “the problem isn’t that conservatives focus too much on the family, the problem is that they don’t focus on the family enough.”

Lee then turned to public schools, claiming that “Poor people and poor children are trapped in public schools.” He added that he is working on new legislation right now, that will “break up the cartels holding our children hostage.”

Lee wrapped up by saying “The best economic growth doesn’t come from CEOs or Silicon Valley, it comes from a young couple back home in a church saying ‘I do.’”

9:40 a.m. EST: 

Senator Ted Cruz’s introducer lambasted Senator John McCain as a “fake conservative and fake Republican” for calling Sens Cruz’s and Lee’s shutdown tactics to repeal the Affordable Care Act “implausible.”

Cruz himself opened by slamming the Obama administration for “violating almost every single right in the Bill of Rights, except perhaps the third, although I expect them to start quartering soldiers in our homes any day soon.”

The scare tactics are flying quick. Cruz says that America has less than 10 years to “change things around before we go off the cliff into oblivion.”

One by one, three protesters stood and questioned Cruz on his immigration stances. They were quickly escorted from the room by security, and Cruz himself called them “paid Obama operatives.”

At least 9 individual protesters have now stood and interrupted Cruz’s speech. The audience has turned near-violent towards them. Waving bags and coats towards them.

Cruz threw down a challenge at Obama. Says if the president will answer questions from 10 Cruz-supporters for 1/2 an hour, Cruz will answer questions from Obama-supporters on TV.

Despite falling poll numbers for Cruz individually and lack of support for the shutdown, Cruz is doubling down. “We need to stand strong!”

10:10 a.m. EST

Senator Rand Paul takes the stage.

Sen Paul is starting out by saying the Muslims are attacking Christians all around the world. “This is a war. More than 40 million Muslims are ok with attacking Christians.”

Paul went on to say that the United States “is now arming those who attacked us on 9/11,” and “we need to take a stand against anyone who wants to aid the Muslims.” He also pointed the finger squarely against the Obama administration, saying the argument can be made that “they are directly funding those who are killing christians.”

Paul also made the point that the “War on Christianity” isn’t just abroad, but also here at home. He elaborated by pointing towards the Boston Bombings earlier this year. “These Islamic extremists didn’t target a mosque. They targeted us. Christians.”

Paul says Military actions can be useful, and that “we were right to go to war after 9/11.” But he also cautioned that “military actions can empower radical Islam. I think if we go into Syria that’s what it will do.”

Senator Paul is throwing a warning to Libya, Egypt and Syria. “The Middle-East used to be something beautiful, but they’ve got to police their radical Islamists.”

10:30 a.m. EST

Senator Marco Rubio takes the stage.

Rubio says the reason the country is suffering is “not just because of big government. The fundamental truth is that the economy cannot be strong unless we strengthen our values.”

Rubio acknowledges the analysts who have warned the conservatives that they cannot win national elections if they focus too much on social issues. “But we must continue because the American Dream depends on it.”

The Senator also ignored those who are being persecuted by laws passed by conservatives imposing their religion. “Who are we hurting? How do our values hurt anyone? We are tired of being told to keep our opinions to ourselves!”

Rubio closed by saying Americans must “pray to restore the American Dream.”

10:46 a.m. EST

Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina takes the stage. Says he wants to preach, and is throwing around “hallelujahs.”

Scott takes his first swing at President Obama, it’s over gay marriage. “We have a president who picks and chooses which laws he wants to enforce.” He’s referencing the administration’s decision not to enforce Don’t Ask Don’t Tell or the Defense of Marriage Act.

Not sure where the Senator is getting his math, but he’s claiming that even if Obamacare is fully implemented, there is no chance America will see a decrease in the rate of uninsured because of it.

Scott is also taking a swing at public education, saying “we cannot allow teachers and unions to stand in the way of educating our children.”

11:00 a.m. EST

Tony Perkins and Mark Levin take the stage.

Mark Levin says that the Supreme Court is letting Congress pass laws they have no authority to pass.

“The Supreme Court overturning Prop 8 is ABSOLUTE TYRANNY”

Levin says that “America is a blue state right now,” and the “only way to fix it is for the state legislatures to get involved.”

Levin is also advocating for returning the election of U.S. Senators to state legislatures. He says Obamacare never would have passed if things still worked that way, because Senators were ignoring the will of their state legislatures.

Today’s theme as heavily revolved around the idea that there are “fake Republicans” in the House of Reps and the Senate. Right now, Perkins and Levin are strongly warning any Republicans who don’t keep fighting to defund Obamacare, or who “trash” Sens Cruz and Lee. This is fascinating to watch, as every national poll shows the public turning extraordinarily sour on the shutdown and the fight to defund the ACA. Even Mike Lee’s home state of Utah has two polls out showing his favorability with his own voters has fallen 10 percent in the last week.

11:30 a.m. EST

Dr. Ben Carson taking the stage.

Carson is starting off with anti-abortion lines. Says that there “is no war on women. Women are getting all riled up because we won’t let them have an abortion. Ladies, we love you! The war is on your babies!”

Carson has moved on to gay marriage, and is enjoying a standing ovation when he says “don’t change the definition of marriage.” Interestingly enough, he says that gay couples should be able to “get legally bound” and have visitation/property rights etc.. “Just don’t change the definition of marriage.”

Fascinating to listen as Carson says it is “insulting” when liberals try to give black people “food and healthcare.”

Gasps from the audience as Carson says that “Obamacare is the worst thing in America since slavery. Because it’s enslaving the people.” He added later that “It was never about healthcare, it was about power and control.”

Listening to Ben Carson can only be done with your “twisted logic” hat on. He’s now arguing that “other countries aren’t afraid to proclaim their beliefs, why are we?” And yet just a moment ago he was arguing that America should not be following the lead of other countries.

12:00 p.m. Lunch Break. Sessions resume at 2:00 p.m. EST.

2:00 p.m. Back from lunch

The afternoon session kicked off with a video scaring parents by asking “what would happen if your child was forced to dress up like a transgender?”

Representative Paul Ryan didn’t attend in person, but sent in a video message saying “we need to protect our values in the 21st Century.”

2:05 p.m.

Former-Rep Allen West says that while President Obama was speaking at the anniversary of the March on Washington, all he could think of was “the millions of black babies who have been killed.”

According to West, opposing marriage equality “isn’t about hating others, it’s about protecting our own values.”

West opened his remarks reading the Bible story about Joseph and Pharaoh who saved the Egyptian people from famine. He’s arguing that they were wrong.

In an interesting twist from his opening remarks arguing against government programs, West used his later time to complain about government services that were closed due to the shutdown. 

“Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, please resign!”

2:25 p.m. EST Joel Rosenberg

Rosenberg is making some rather drastic comparisons. He says the U.S. economy is like the movie Titanic, “when there’s an iceberg in front of you, you don’t speed up.”

Nazi reference! Women who have abortions are just like the Nazis at Auschwitz. Anyone else remember how just a couple hours ago, Dr. Ben Carson said there’s no such thing as a GOP War on Women?

Rosenburg has spent the last 10 minutes lamenting about Iran’s belief that a messiah will return to bring about the end times. He’s apparently completely oblivious that every Christian in the room he’s talking to believes the same thing.

2:50 p.m. Townhall with Reps Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise

Scalise says that Obama is specifically targeting Christians with Obamacare, tryign to hurt them.

Gohmert says the shutdown has been the Democrats’ plan for years. He’s claiming that Republican congressmen have been doing nothing but caving to every single Democrats’ demand for years.

I’m thinking someone should let Gohmert know that while he’s claiming that the shutdown is the result of the Dems and the president, Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee took credit for it this morning.

That was odd. Congressman Jordan just compared the Obama Administration to King George. “Our ancestors had to get away from that to protect their religion, and so do we.”

Rep Jim Jordan says that the government shutdown will help the Republicans win back the Senate next year.

Gohmert: “I don’t believe the polls saying people blame the GOP for the government shutdown. People always hate Congress.” Not 5 minutes later, Gohmert then said the shutdown will end when Obama and the Democrats recognize that the public blames the Dems.

3:25 p.m. EST – Michelle Bachmann

Interesting, the other Representatives had to leave early to get back to the Hill for a vote. Why isn’t Bachmann there?

Incredible. Bachmann is recapping all of the things that are closed during the shutdown. She’s complaining that they’re closed and belittling the park rangers who are enforcing the shutdown she voted in favor of.

If there’s one thing about Michele Bachmann you can take away while listening to her, it’s how little she knows about anything. She is extraordinarily talented at whipping a crowd into a frenzy, but she has yet to clearly articulate a single policy initiative.

“Obamacare will become known as Deathcare.”

3:45 p.m. EST – Alveda King

Quick note before Alveda King (the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.) starts: the rest of the King family have denounced her and her false claims about MLK’s “anti-choice” beliefs.

Alveda is blaming the Southern Poverty Law Center for the shooting at the FRC’s headquarters last year, because SPLC spreads “lies” (they’ve labeled FRC an official Hate Group) about them and once published their address.

Alveda also referred to gay people as “sexual persions” and said that birth control pills are “poison. Girls need them like they need a hole in their heads.”

4:00 p.m. EST – Gary Bauer

Bauer says our country is being “killed by the radical left.” Says the radical left and the radical islamists want to destroy Christians in order to remake the nation.

He is also adding that Christianity has “always taken piece and tolerance” with it wherever it has gone.

Bauer’s speech sound like he thinks it’s 2011 again. He’s hitting all the highlights, including “that promiscuous co-ed Sandra Fluke.”

Attention has now turned to Wendy Davis of Texas-filibuster fame. Bauer claims that Wendy was fighting for better access to 8-month abortions.

While half of the speakers today have been praising Senators Cruz and Lee for creating the government shutdown, the other half are busy blaming Obama. You would have though the Family Research Council would have gotten them all onto one side or another.

Nice for those of us who are liberals in the audience to get a chuckle. Bauer forgot where he was and said “right here in Chicago, folks.” (We’re in D.C.)

4:28 p.m. EST – Sandy Rios

Rios is kicking things off by mocking the Southern Poverty Law Center by reading a letter written by them to Congressmen and Senators asking them not to attend the Summit. It probably wasn’t a good idea, the letter was extremely well written about why FRC and AFA demonizes LGBT people. Feels like the audience kinda liked it.

It’s always hilarious to hear people who work for hate groups (in this case the American Family Association) whine about those who call them out for their work.

Rios is telling the audience not to listen to gay family members. “That would be like having a cousin who is a doctor and thinking you understand medicine.” she also is blaming propaganda from the media for any support for LGBT rights.

I can’t lie, I am quivering with rage right now. Rios is now claiming that the story of Matthew Sheppard is a fraud.

4:52 p.m. EST – Rick Santorum

In not a huge surprise, Santorum is spending his first few minutes pimping his new film projects, including showing a trailer for his film. Guess he needs more money.

Santorum hasn’t missed a beat since getting trounced in the GOP 2012 primaries. “We don’t need to listen to the polls, we know the truth!”

It’s statements like this that perpetuate the stereotypes that the Right isn’t intelligent: “The Left has pie charts and line graphs, we need to tell people stories!”

Most of Santorum’s speech has just involved screaming random words. The only point he’s managed to make for a while is that the economic struggle our country faces means nothing unless, apparently, we can stop gay marriage from moving forward.

Interestingly enough, Santorum got the biggest standing ovation of the night.. after he said that when it comes to his anti-gay and anti-abortion views, he “really means it.”

7:40 EST – Bishop E.W. Jackson

Jackson says he will never apologize for being opposed to marriage equality.

Jackson is giving more of a campaign speech than anything real. Lot’s of freedom juice and liberty syrup.

Every bit of research produced shows that discrimination against LGBTQ people causes suicides at alarming rates. Bishop Jackson says he can’t stand gay people, but he really wants to do something about teen suicides by strengthening marriage between one-man and one-woman.

Outside of Obamacare, there hasn’t been much of “moochers and takers” rhetoric today. But Bishop Jackson just said “We care about poor people, and we care about Hispanics. But the difference is that we don’t want them to rely on us.”

Jackson also announced that except for Jesus Christ, America is the greatest gift every given to mankind. Adding quickly after, “we’re not trying to force anything on anybody,” which is true, if you don’t count his religion and “values.”

8:02 p.m. EST – Mike Huckabee

Huckabee is being introduced by Rick Scarborough, the man who said that AIDS is a punishment to gay people from God, and that God killed Americans in Bengahzi as a “warning for pornography.”

Scarborough says people told Huckabee his candidacy was doomed from the start, but “he proved them wrong.” Apparently no one told him that Huckabee lost almost immediately in the race.

Huckabee’s spending quite a bit of time on Benghazi. Says he would not be surprised if someday we discover that illegal weapons were being sent from Syria to Libya and were captured by terrorists.”

After getting trounced in the 2012 elections, Republicans have obviously learned their lesson. They’re not changing any policies, of course, but Huckabee is the third or fourth speaker tonight to completely co-opt the Democrats’ line from their 2012 convention: “Democrats are saying that ‘you’re on your own,’ we want to say We’re All In This Together!”

Huckabee also took a little dip into the anti-transgender pool. Bringing up the old favorite about hos “Boys are now showering with girls” scare tactic.

8:27 p.m. EST – Jim DeMint

DeMint opened with 3 jokes, one on the IRS, one on the NRA, and one on Obamacare. Not a single one got a laugh.

We just had the biggest WHAT?! moment of the night, as DeMint said “We would be violating others’ civil liberties if we were to try and force our values and beliefs on them.”

DeMint is focusing his speech on love (“and not the liberal mushy gibberish kind”). It’s almost disgusting, in a calm and clear voice, he’s co-opted the entire liberal message about the importance of embracing diversity, never forcing your opinions, and respecting different beliefs. The irony, of course, is that is opposite of the mission of the Heritage Foundation, which he now heads.

DeMint also lauded trans-vaginal ultrasounds, despite the rape-like pain and trauma they put women through.. because hopefully “once a woman sees a picture, they’ll change their minds.”

8:45 p.m. EST – Marriage Panel

Starting off is Jennifer Marshall from the Heritage Foundation.who says that America has to now defend not only against gay marriage, but “we have to fight against our kids being indoctrinated in schools.”

Ryan Anderson from the Heritage Foundation is also hitting the “men have penises and women have vaginas” argument, but he’s adding a bit of a twist on it. According to Anderson, “there’s no such thing as ‘parenting.’ But only ‘mothering’ and ‘fathering,’ each have their own specific roles.”

It took Anderson less than 3 minutes to start equating Marriage Equality to polygamy. He also started making some weird claims, such as gays and lesbians wanting “marriage leases,” which only last a couple years. Maybe I’m being naive, but has anyone else ever heard of this happening?

NOM’s Brian Brown is also speaking, is spending quite a bit of time complaining that media outlets such as CNN and ABC rarely let him on their shows anymore.

It’s worth pointing out that more than a third of the entire audience walked out before Brian Brown and this panel started. Presumably they’re headed to the book signings by Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

The audience has died down so much that Ryan Anderson couldn’t even get applause on his applause line, he stopped, then said “there should be applause for that,” before getting a meager clapping.

The panel died pretty quickly, and Tony Perkins cut it off early.

That’s it for us tonight, thanks for following along! Join us again tomorrow morning at 9am ET for Day2 of our live-blog and live-tweeting of the 2013 Values Voters Summit.