VOICEOVER: More than 10 thousand conservatives headed to Washington DC last week to attend the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Much of this yearâs conference focused on upcoming presidential elections, and a number of Republican candidates and high profile right wing commentators were invited to speak including Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Anne Coulter to name a few. Organized labor groups, Our DC, and Occupy DC participants staged a rally outside of the conference hotel on the same day that keynote speaker Governor Scott Walker delivered his speech, where he lauded his elimination of collective bargaining rights for public workers as a successful expression of popular taxpayer power.SCOTT WALKER, GOVERNOR, WISCONSIN: Collective bargaining is not a right, collective bargaining in the public sector (pause, crowd applauds) collective bargaining is not a right, in the public sector collective bargaining is an expensive entitlement. You see what we did was once and for all stand up and say you know what the taxpayers should actually have something to say in this debate not just a handful of big government union bosses, we put the power back in the hands of the people.VOICEOVER: Outside, demonstrators rallied against Walker and the conference, which they say are a threat to the working class and organized labor. Mike Golash of Occupy DC says itâs clear why Walker was chosen as the keynote speaker for an event like CPAC.MIKE GOLASH, OCCUPY DC: Scott Walker is setting an example for right wing political leadership all across the country he was able to eliminate collective bargaining rights of many workers, state employees in the state of Wisconsin he was able to withstand an initial recall effort of state legislatures and now theyâre trying to promote him to prevent his recall as governor they figure if they can be successful at that they can roll back the rights that workers have since the end of the second world war in state governments to achieve so he is their hero and theyâre trying to do everything they can to promote his agenda.VOICEOVER: Half of the conference attendees were college students, with CPAC aiming to mobilize young Republicans ahead of upcoming elections. Conference attendee Mike came down to the protest to talk with demonstrators.MIKE, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Thereâs about 50 or 60 folks out here itâs a good group actually itâs pretty cool because Iâm seeing a lot of folks from the occupy movement a lot of union guys but theyâre out here mingling with many folks who are attending CPAC which is right up the hill there so youâve got conservatives from the conference hanging out with union folks and occupy demonstrators just talking itâs very civil itâs quite nice.VOICEOVER: Later on, the mood became considerably less cordial as tensions escalated between demonstrators and conference attendees. Amber Jamil of National Nurses United says that many of the people at the conference and the policies they support are out of touch with common working people in the United States.AMBER JAMIL, NATIONAL NURSES UNITED: It strikes me that the folks participating and leading CPAC do not represent America and what is clear is that these folks are the folks who work very closely with and who are often times the 1 percent versus the 99 percent who are the rest of us, these 1 percent are either part of the corporate structure itself or are the government officials who are working more in the interest of corporations than main street America and working class people.VOICEOVER: As former Republican candidate Sarah Palin was delivering the conferenceâs closing remarks, a group of Occupy movement members who had managed to gain access began to mic check to make a statement before being drowned out by the crowd. SIGNOUT.
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