In it, but not of it. TPM DC
Paul's upset win in last year's CPAC presidential straw poll marked a shift here from social conservatives to the more libertarian-leaning type of attendee -- though there are many of the latter type still here. Team Paul hopes to win another straw poll this year, and they're here in big numbers to do it.
Paul's just one of many 2012ers on the docket today. This morning brings Mitt Romney -- who usually gives a fiery, one-liner filled speech at CPAC -- and the rest of the day brings Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Tim Pawlenty, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) and RGA chair Rick Perry (who's not running for president...yet).
Other speakers include Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) -- a big name among conservatives.
But Paul's speech -- and the rock star reception he's likely to receive from his fans here -- will probably be the highlight.