From July 29-31, the 2011 Western Conservative Summit drew more than 1,000 participants at the Denver Marriott City Center in downtown Denver. Presented by the Centennial Institute, a public policy think tank affiliated with Colorado Christian University, conservative speakers and participants came from across the U.S. to address such questions as: Are freedom and responsibility on a comeback; does America still lead the world; is conservativism more than politics and economics; will the USA see another 100 years; can the Tea Party revive the GOP; and how will Election 2012 play out.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is considering a run for U.S. President in 2012, and presidential candidate Rick Santorum were keynote speakers during the opening night. Santorum, a former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, and Perry, the longest-serving governor of Texas, each presented his vision for leadership at the Summit's welcome dinner on Friday. Watch coverage of Governor Perry’s keynote on C-SPAN.
Herman Cain, another presidential candidate as well as former chairman and ECO of Godfather’s Pizza, addressed the audience on Sunday – and won the 2012 straw poll of participants in the weekend-long Summit.
Additional speakers included former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton; Fox News Analysts Juan Williams and Dick Morris; political commentator Tucker Carlson; syndicated newspaper columnist Cal Thomas; democratic pollster Pat Caddell; Salem Radio Talk Show Host Dennis Prager; author and commentator Mark Steyn; Vice President of Young America's Foundation Kate Obenshain; founder and president of the Center for Security Policy Frank Gaffney; president of the American Enterprise Institute Arthur Brooks; and several others.
The Western Conservative Summit originated in 2010 with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) as keynoter and crowds overflowing a 600-seat facility in Douglas County. This year's event, relocated to a larger venue downtown, was presented in partnership with 710KNUS, Independence Institute, Colorado Union of Taxpayers, Focus on the Family and the Heritage Foundation.
The Summit was co-chaired John Andrews, president of the Centennial Institute and Bill Armstrong, president of Colorado Christian University. Andrews is a columnist for The Denver Post, former president of the Colorado Senate, and author of the newly released book Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen's Guide to the Next American Century. Armstrong is a former businessman and represented Colorado in the U.S. House of Representatives (1972-1978) and the U.S. Senate (1978-1990).