Unlike many of Thursday’s other CPAC headliners, Utah senator Mike Lee is not a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate. With that in mind, Lee used his early-morning speech to outline what he was looking for in a candidate, as “one conservative not running for president to another conservative not running for president.”
Lee described the ideal 2016 GOP presidential nominee as “principled, positive, and proven.”
“We want someone who stood on principle when the going got tough and has the battle scars to prove it,” he said. “[But] the conservative candidate who ignores moderates is as misguided as the moderate who ignores conservative candidates.”
Most important, Lee said he was ”looking for someone who’s proven himself by winning big difficult fights on Election Day, and won big difficult fights after elections.”
If conservatives do not get the nominee they desire in 2016, he said, it will be because the people failed — not the media and not the establishment. With that in mind, he argued that conservatives must true to their ideals, and pick a candidate based on record, not rhetoric.
“We have a job to do and it’s not to find a guy that shouts ‘freedom’ the loudest,” he said.