The rock jams were pumped up to full volume in the gigantic ballroom at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC, people waiting in their seats and C-SPAN2 carrying the live feed as Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) was scheduled to take the stage before the big-time audience, hoping, one would assume, for a coming-out party...a chance to show that he belongs on the CPAC stage in the same way Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty do--not as a sideshow, an intermezzo along the lines of the interest group heads, members of Congress, and lesser entertainments that go between the big acts--but as a legitimate big shot, a conservative heavyweight with enough credibility and fame to capture a national audience.
There was only one problem: Tiger Woods was addressing reporters for the first time since his scandal broke, speaking to a pool camera and a small crowd of reporters, but mostly (it appeared) friends and associates, not taking questions, at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Pence, the House Republican Conference chairman and possible 2012 White House hopeful, was scheduled to take the stage at 11 a.m., but he didn't until after Woods had finished. Audience members milled around, waiting for something to happen, the ubiquitous CPAC classic-rock music washing over them.
Three minutes after Woods is done speaking, at 11:17 a.m., Human Events Editor Jed Babbin appeared on stage to deliver yet another teleprompter joke and introduce former Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN), who then introduced Pence.
Good timing. For Pence, the TV slot was not lost, as he finally took the stage at 11:22 a.m.
"I was really excited with this time slot," Pence said. "They called me and said, 'How about 11 a.m. Friday at CPAC for your address'...
"In politics, timing is everything, and I was driving down the road yesterday, and I heard the news that Tiger Woods would be addressing the nation at 11 a.m. Friday. Oh, perfect," Pence said. "There is hope some people beyond you in this room might see this speech--you know, I've got a Facebook page, and YouTube springs eternal."
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