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February 26, 2015, CPAC
A pic from this day (or thereabouts) in history
I’m Darren Samuelsohn, a veteran journalist who has been reporting and editing writers for 30+ years. You’re reading a bonus edition of love, journalism, my weekly newsletter full of insights, interviews, ideas and inspiration.
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This is a picture from CPAC on February 26, 2015, held just outside Washington DC.
That stands for the Conservative Political Action Conference, a giant confab that’s been happening annually since the year before I was born in 1974. The next one begins Wednesday and already there are articles spelling out who will be speaking there (Donald Trump, Nikki Haley) and who won’t (Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis) among the crowd of aspiring future Republican presidents.
As you can see from the shot above, CPAC is a bit of a spectacle.
The media swarming around someone headed into an event is pretty standard stuff in the halls of the hotel conference centers where this thing happens. I wish I had a better photograph to see who’s in the middle of this scrum, but the sequence before and after pretty much shows the backs of people jockeying for position with their cameras.
I do know a good bit more about the man with his back to the camera who’s being interviewed by a journalist. That’s Stephen Moore, an economist and co-founder of the Club for Growth who I was following around for a longer Politico profile about what it’s like to be a policy wonk trying to land a job with a presidential campaign.
Moore had agreed to let me travel with him over a couple days to get an up-close perspective on how the process works. That’s how I got into the private dinner at the 21 Club in New York I wrote about a few days ago where Rudy Giuliani ended up crashing the event and making comments about President Barack Obama’s love for America that went viral.
It was still pretty darn early in the 2016 presidential cycle when I snapped this picture at CPAC, but that wasn’t stopping people like Moore from working their contacts in search of work. He’d been in touch by that point with everyone from Scott Walker to Rand Paul and Jeb Bush.
Interesting enough, about an hour after I took the other picture, I watched as Moore started up a conversation in the CPAC hallways with Gary Johnson, the former two-term GOP governor of New Mexico who in May of 2016 secured the Libertarian Party nomination for president.
Four years later, President Trump nominated Moore to be a governor of the Federal Reserve Board but he dropped out amid controversy. Johnson won 3.3 percent of the popular vote in 2016.
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