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Republicans, conservatives gather for CPAC GOP Politics

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Updated: 3/16/2013 8:44 am
(NBC News) Republicans and conservatives from Donald Trump to the NRA chief gathered for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference today.

Immigration, gun control, gay marriage and how to deal with our nation's budget crisis were the topics of the day.

This was a conservative crowd pushing their agenda at a three day event with some very familiar faces.

For this captive audience every conservative hot-button issue was talked about.

From the fight over gun control to immigration reform...

"I say to myself...why aren't we letting people in from Europe?" said business mogul Donald Trump.

Stopping gay marriage was also applauded one week before the Supreme Court takes up a challenge to the defense of the marriage act.

"Just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot," said Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican from Florida.

But that speech came as republican Senator Rob Portman reversed his longtime opposition to same-sex marriage after learning his son was gay.

"I think this something we should allow people to do, to get married to have the joy and stability of marriage that I've had for 26-years. I want all three of my kids to have that," said Portman.

Familiar faces encouraged the crowd to fight for their agenda in elections to come.

"We might not have won on November 7th but we have not lost our way," said former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

This was Romney's first speech since the election.

Others blasted President Obama and democrats for America's rising debt, while those like Congressman Paul Ryan pushed his balanced budget plan.

"How did we do this? You know, it's really pretty simple. We stopped spending money. Go figure," said Ryan.

Popular beliefs for this conservative convention, but democrats say Ryan's plan guts Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

As the budget stalemate continues, both sides do agree on one thing; that any large deficit reduction deal is still very unlikely.

-- Jennifer Johnson, NBC News, Washington
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