Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, Aaron Gulbransen in the studio to reminisce about past CPAC events.
Leahy: We are joined in studio by our all-star panelist, official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, and the state of Tennessee director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Mr. Aaron Goldbinton. Good morning, Aaron.
Gulbransen: How are you doing, sir?
Leahy: Well, I’m glad you’re here because we do have a little bit of programming announcement to make that a week from this Friday, March 3rd, you, sir, will be guest hosting The Tennessee Star Report. I will be in Washington D.C. or thereabouts in a suburb on the Potomac at the Gaylord there, participating in CPAC.
And I will be either phoning in briefly with the updates of what’re all the things that are going on with CPAC, the annual gathering of the conservatives, or we may have a more extended communication. It sort of depends on how the technology works.
Because anytime I’m out of studio and I’m trying to communicate back here, and our producer Patrick is smiling right now. I’ve been on that road before, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
So I guess you’ll have at least three hours here in studio from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on Friday, March 3rd. And the minimum, I’ll have at least an 11-minute phone call with you, but maybe longer. It depends on the technology.
Gulbransen: Of course, we’ll be turning the tables on you and interviewing you instead of vice versa.
Leahy: I have been interviewed before, and of course, you like that. That’s fun.
Gulbransen: Yes. It’s a lot of fun. We’ll have a good time. So when was the last time you’ve been to CPAC?
Leahy: Would you like to hear a story about CPAC?
Leahy: There was a period of time when it was a lot of fun, and there’s a period of time when it wasn’t so much fun. And now it looks like it’s going to be a little bit more fun this time. CPAC, of course, was all disrupted by COVID. I recall the first one I went to was at the Marriott Hotel in March of 2010 in Northwest Washington, D.C.
I had just written a book called Rules for Conservative Radicals, a book self-published, so perhaps an extended monograph might be a better way to describe it. Right. And I was interviewed on CSPAN there. I remember that I sat right next to this home-schooled kid who was there and was like a superstar for a nanosecond.
And then he turned out to be, you know, when he grew up, he was a left-wing lib type guy. His name was Jonathan Crone; I think I was right next to him. So that was 2010. In 2013, when I was with Breitbart, I was there. And CPAC had moved to the Gaylord.
The Gaylord says Washington, D.C., but it’s actually technically in Maryland. It’s right on the Potomac. It’s kind of southeast of D.C. It’s a beautiful hotel. Beautiful hotel. And I was there writing for Breitbart. And it was fascinating because the late, great Pat Goodell, great pollster was giving a barnburner of a speech, which I guess you would call it. Perhaps a precursor of Donald Trump, right?
It was basically criticizing the elite and globalism. I was there in the audience, and in essence, I just wrote a story about what his speech was about. It was published quickly, and it was a morning speech. Later that afternoon at about maybe 12:30 p.m., my phone started blowing up. (Ringing sound) What had happened?
Turns out the late, the great Rush Limbaugh was reading my story from Breitbart verbatim. (Gulbransen chuckles) And I mean, it was, and he spent, like, half an hour talking about it, and it was all citing Breitbart. I don’t think he mentioned my name, but it was the article.
Gulbransen: He didn’t call you a babe?
Gulbransen: This babe over at Breitbart?
Leahy: I’m trying to recall because he did say it was a Breitbart article that captured the whole thing. But it was just fascinating. And I can tell you I recall I had taken a break from the conference.
I was outstanding on the banks of the Potomac, looking across to Alexandria, Virginia, and then up to the north, looking to Washington, D.C., And it’s like, there’s my phone. And it was bing, bing, bing, bing, bing bing bing, bing bing bing. And I’m thinking, what is going on? Is there an accident somewhere?
Gulbransen: That’s awesome.
Leahy: No, Rush Limbaugh was talking about my article. It was quite a recollection. How about yourself?
Gulbransen: I went to CPAC 2007, 2008, 2009. I distinctly remember a number of things from 2007 CPAC. Of course, you had somebody working for Sam Brownback, which at the time, he was running for president.
Leahy: Hold it. Sam Brownback, was he the governor? And then he became governor.
Gulbransen: I believe that’s the case.
Leahy: Sam Brownback was not exactly an inspiring figure.
Gulbransen: They had a campaign staffer, and I believe they would have denied this at the time, following Mitt Romney around dressed as a dolphin. And the name of the dolphin was Flip Romney. I remembered that.
Leahy: Oh, that is so cornball.
Gulbransen: I remember running into Michelle Malkin, of course; now, jeez, this is 16 years ago. The first one, there was a lot of energy for Romney in that CPAC. I think he won.
Leahy: It was 2007.
Gulbransen: That was Mitt Romney 2.0 because you had Governor Romney, one persona. Then you had ’07, ’08 Romney, then you had 2012, and then you have the current one.
Leahy: Are we up to 4.0 with Romney?
Gulbransen: Something like that. As it turned out, the Flip Romney was prophetic. It was, oddly enough, the first time I met my good friend, former governor of Virginia, Jim Gilmore, who briefly ran for president that year too, and he dropped out to run for Senate against U.S. Senator Mark Warner. There were a lot of interesting and fun times. By the way, I just did an observation since we brought up Rush Limbaugh’s name, and I always like telling this to people. And it is in my book. Smoke Filled Rooms. The story is in there.
Leahy: And that’s actually a book, not a monograph.
Gulbransen: That’s an actual book available on Amazon.com. Shameless plug. And Rush Limbaugh gave me my first cigar when I was back working for (Inaudible talk).
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “CPAC” by CPAC.