Nightly News   |  February 20, 2010

Energized conservatives eye political gains

Left for dead by many not long ago, the Conservative Political Action Conference has attendants – including presidential aspirants – feeling emboldened and resurgent. NBC’s Mike Viqueira reports.

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>> know tonight.

>>> in washington thousands of conservatives wrapping up a three-day meeting meant to energize supporters ahead of the mid-term elections. the conservative political action conference is also considered an important stop for aspiring republican presidential candidates . our report tonight from nbc's mike vicera.

>> reporter: for conservatives what a difference a year makes.

>> it's take back washington time. we've got the fever.

>> reporter: let for dead many many, conservatives sense a weakened white house .

>> the president obama has lost his mojo.

>> reporter: while experts give republicans a chance to take back congress later this year. the former vice president is setting the bar even higher.

>> i think barack obama is a one-term president.

>> reporter: playing out over the past three daze in washington , a parade of presidential as pie rants lined up to take turns bashing mr. obama and democrats on spending.

>> i think we should take a nine iron and smash the window out of big government in the country.

>> reporter: on the economy.

>> when it comes to pinning blame, pin the tail on the donkeys.

>> and on the size of government.

>> whether it comes to more bailouts the answer?

>> no.

>> when the conservatives have their conventions and they yell at me and say how terrible i am --

>> reporter: as he was under attack in washington , the president was out west campaigning for vulnerable democrats and defending his record. mr. obama vowed to move ahead with his agenda.

>> it is vital for our economy to change how health care works in this country.

>> reporter: late today conservatives wrapped up their meeting with a presidential straw poll to pick the favorite candidate for 2012 . the winner was ron paul . nbc news, washington .

>>> now we go overseas to