​GOP plots White House takeover during CPAC 2015

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 27, 2015.
(Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)
Taking aim at the president, Hillary Clinton and the Islamic State, the most likely contenders for the GOP nod are ramping up calls to ensure the party reclaims the White House in 2016 – and reverses what the Obama administration has accomplished.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, in National Harbor, Maryland on Friday, the party’s purported frontrunners – among them Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida – offered harsh words for the current presidential administration.

Along with the likes of billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump and would-be 2012 party hopeful Rick Santorum, Paul and Bush rallied during the second day of CPAC for their fellow Republicans to reject the Democratic Party and make certain that the GOP can put another of its own in the White House when the administration of Pres. Barack Obama, a Democrat, officially expires in a little less than two years.

Stressing the rise of the Islamic State and the current debates concerning illegal immigration and national security, the likely frontrunners anything but applauded Pres. Obama’s six years in the White House and instead made repeated pleas to revisit 1980 – the year Ronald Reagan was elected into office and put into place conservative policies that made him an icon of the movement.

Bush – the son of former Pres. George H.W. Bush and the brother of Obama’s immediate predecessor, George W. Bush – told Fox News commentator Sean Hannity during Friday’s event the he considers the current administration that of a “failed president.” Speaking of his ambitions, he told Hannity, the emcee of the event, that he would present Congress with a plan to reform the country’s tax code, create regulatory reform agenda and aim to reverse actions made by Pres. Obama through executive order.

“I believe with what we ought to be focused on is growing the economic pie and growing it at a rate that looks more like the 80s in America,” Bush explained.

Sen. Paul, meanwhile, said during his own address earlier in the day that he plans to soon propose to Congress the largest tax cut in American history and, if elected, would reverse the health insurance mandate that’s become a hallmark of the Obama administration. The Supreme Court made the “mistake of the century” by finding no fault with the Affordable Care Act, said Paul, an ophthalmologist, adding: “I promise you this: as a doctor I will take it and make it my mission to heal the nation, reverse the course of Obamacare and repeal every last bit of it.”

Aside from Obama-sanctioned legislation, the purported GOP frontrunners made no effort to hold back at CPAC on another of the Republican Party’s favorite topics concerning the current administration: Hillary Clinton, the former State Dept. secretary largely considered to be the Democratic Party's most likely choice in 2016.

“It’s time for Hillary Clinton to permanently retire,” Paul said at one point.

Indeed, Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee which will eventually select the 2016 party pick, said the GOP wants to accomplish nothing short of keeping Clinton out of the White House – even though the former first lady has yet to officially announce any intention to run.

“If you want to win the nomination, you’re going to have to earn the nomination,” Priebus said Friday. “But when we have a nominee, we’ll have to come together stronger and more united than ever to defeat Hillary Clinton.”

Along with Clinton, the Republicans all made it clear that, if elected to the White House, they’d each ramp up America’s military efforts against the Islamic State. Santorum, a former US senator for Pennsylvania and a contender for the GOP nod during the last election, said he endorsed a plan for putting 10,000 ground forces in Iraq and Syria to fight against the group, and to conduct far more airstrikes than that of the Obama administration

“Nobody would be tougher than Donald Trump,” Trump, the billionaire mogul with no political experience, said of himself in the third-person. “I would hit them so hard and so fast that they wouldn’t know what happened.” Bush, meanwhile, said he’d accomplish as much by creating a “safe zone” in the area surrounding the ISIS stronghold, where a US-trained army of rebels can be assembled to lead the fight.

Trump told Hannity during CPAC that, on a scale of 1-100, he’s at around a “75 or 80” with regards to deciding whether or not he will seek the Republican Party’s nomination in 2016. Other members of the Republican Party, meanwhile, are expected to ramp up anti-Democratic sentiment as the conference continues on Saturday.