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Three-day conservative tea party begins in D.C.

The three-day right-wing tea party known as CPAC began today in Washington, D.C.

The schedule of speakers includes: Kelly Ayotte, John Barrasso, Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor, Al Cardenas, Ben Carson, Francesca Chambers, Steven Crowder, Ted Cruz, Ken Cuccinelli, Artur Davis, Carly Fiorina, Tom Fitton, Jeff Frazee, Newt Gingrich, Louie Gohmert, Kristan Hawkins, Chelsi Henry, Bobby Jindal, Ron Johnson, Sonnie Johnson, David Keene, Katie Kieffer, Wayne LaPierre, Mike Lee, Art Linares, Dana Loesch, Jenny Beth Martin, Alexander McCobin, Mitch McConnell, Kate Obenshain, Sarah Palin, rand Paul, Katie Pavlich, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Wayne Allyn Root, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Tim Scott, T.W. Shannon, Pat Toomey, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Allen West and Crystal Wright.

Among the first speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference, former U.S. Rep. Allen West compared defeating Barack Obama's policies to winning the Revolutionary and Civil wars.

He said, "When Barack Obama packs his bags and beats a hasty retreat back to Chicago, we will persevere."

West also urged conservatives not to compromise on values and policies. "A bended knee is not, nor shall it ever be, a conservative tradition," he said, adding that he's tired of "insufferable lectures of progressivism."

Sen. Pat Toomey also spoke early on at the conference, focusing on spending and taxation issues. He said, "The premise from the left is clear: they think that economic growth depends on a huge, bloated federal government."

The conference ends on Saturday.

A highlight of the event for the more than 3,000 who attend is typically the straw poll for president.

The only past winners of the poll to win the office are Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Romney, who at last year's conference called himself a "severely conservative Republican governor," has won the poll four times, Ron Paul has won twice, Jack Kemp has won three times.

Representatives of one gay group, the conservative GOProud, plan to be heard at the conference.

LGBT activists also plan to be heard outside the conference.

"These people will never be anything but our enemies, but we can't let their hate speech and their hate policies go unchecked," said D.C. activist Peter Tyrone, who planned to protest CPAC on March 15.

Tyrone recalled in 2007 speaker Ann Coulter called Democrat John Edwards a "faggot."

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