Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky

Friday, day two of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, included speeches from Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee and Senator Rand Paul, all potential 2016 presidential hopefuls.

Perry had a great morning with a well-received speech, while Huckabee focused on Benghazi and the importance of faith and family values. But at the end of day, Rand Paul stole the show.

Here are the takeaways:

1. Rand Paul: ‘We Must Elect Men and Women of Principle’

Senator Rand Paul received perhaps the loudest reception at CPAC so far, with a standing ovation as he walked into the room. The libertarian-leaning senator urged conservatives to “elect men and women of principle and conviction and action, who will lead us back to greatness.”

“Imagine with me for a moment, imagine a time when liberty is again spread from coast to coast,” he began. “Imagine a time when our great country is again governed by the consitution. Imagine a time when the White House is once again occupied by a friend of liberty.”

Paul also talked about issues of NSA surveillance, government overreach and the Fourth Amendment, stating, “We won’t trade our liberty for security. Not now, not ever.”

He had strong words for the National Security Agency’s metadata surveillance program, telling the crowd: “If you have a cell phone, you are under surveillance. I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.”

“There is a great battle going on, it’s for the heart and soul of America,” Paul added. “The Fourth Amendment is equally as important as the Second Amendment, and conservatives cannot forget this.”

Watch the full speech below:

2. Rick Perry: ‘We Just Need to Change the Presidency’

Texas Governor Rick Perry gave the opening speech at CPAC Friday morning, bringing the frantic crowd to their feet with loud cheers in one of the best-received CPAC speeches so far. He praised fellow Republican governors like Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin for their practical approach to governance.

In what appeared to be a preview of a 2016 presidential bid, Perry said: “I am here today to say, we don’t have to accept recent history. We just need to change the presidency. It’s not too late for America to lead in the world, but it starts by leading at home.”

His speech reached a crescendo towards the 11-minute mark when he talked about what the government’s proper role should be. “Defend our country, provide a cogent foreign policy, and what the heck, deliver the mail, preferably on time and on Saturdays,” he said. “Get out of the health care business, get out of the education business,” he continued as his voice began to soar.

“Stop hammering industry! Let the sleeping giant of American enterprise create prosperity again! My fellow conservatives, the future of this nation is upon you! It belongs to you! You have the power to change America. You have the power to speak to our newest hopes and in addition to our age-old dreams. You are the path to the future, a light on a distant shore.”

Watch the full speech below:

3. Mike Huckabee: ‘With All Due Respect to Hillary Clinton, It Does Make a Difference Why They Died’

Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her remarks in a Senate hearing on Benghazi, where she said “what difference, at this point, does it make?” in reference to the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.

“With all due respect to Hillary Clinton, it does make a difference why they died,” Huckabee said to applause from the crowd.

He also stressed the importance of faith and family values. “If this nation forgets our God, then God will have every right to forget us,” he said.

Watch the full speech below:

Click here to view our coverage of Thursday’s speakers.

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