(WASHINGTON) — What did we learn walking around CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual Woodstock for the right, held in Washington, D.C.?
For starters, don’t expect the GOP presidential race to end anytime soon.
Sen. Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican and Tea Party leader, told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl he wouldn’t be surprised to see things go all the way to the convention in August in Tampa, Fla. Karl asked if he thought there was room for another candidate to enter the race at this point.
“I don’t know about another candidate,” Demint said. “But we may go to the convention and decide between these candidates. It’d be hard to bring in an unvetted candidate in the middle of a convention cause we see what this process is doing to our candidates. They’re all getting better. They’re all finding their real, I think value system. And it’s forcing them to be much more tenacious and passionate about what they believe. So anything can happen, I’ve stopped making predictions cause I’ve been wrong every time I’ve made a prediction.”
All the way to the convention? Really? Some big name Republicans don’t want to call anyone the front-runner yet.
Take Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was at the conference Thursday after ending his own race for president earlier this year. Perry endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich when he dropped out of the race. But Gingrich has not won a primary or caucus since his victory in South Carolina.
“I think this race is completely open,” Perry said. “I don’t think anyone has a lock on it at this particular point in time.”
Perry is back to his day job as governor of Texas, but he may not be done with presidential politics.
Karl asked him what he’d do differently, and he said he’d have gotten into the race earlier to hone his debating skills.
“Well obviously I think if I said we would have a little more intensive debate practice,” he said. “And it’s like anything in life, it’s, you know, the good news is this isn’t the only chance you may get in life for this.”
So he’d run again?
“Absolutely,” he said, later adding, “That’s what life better be about. Learn from your mistakes and you know how do you become better whether you’re a road builder or whether you’re a professional pilot or a teacher or whether you’re a doctor you want to be at the top of your game every time, but can you learn something new? You better be. Life would be pretty dull if you’re as good as you’re ever gonna get. Even a newscaster.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio