CPAC delegates rally around 2016 hopefuls

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) makes remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in...

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) makes remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, March 6, 2014. (REUTERS/Mike Theiler)

Jessica Murphy, Senior Washington Correspondent

, Last Updated: 7:32 PM ET

WASHINGTON, D.C. - They couldn't be two more different conservatives.

But both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were on the slate Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) - billed as the biggest annual gathering of American conservatives.

Cruz was in friendly territory.

The freshman senator - ranked by the right-wing Club for Growth's scorecard of members of Congress as the most conservative politician on Capitol Hill - was elected in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party support.

Christie, however, faced a grassroots skeptical of whether he's a true staunch conservative.

He's viewed by CPAC delegates as a RINO - a Republican in name only - who's too soft on social issues like gun rights and too friendly with President Barack Obama.

Still, both politicians have enough political ambition to be weighing a run for the White House in 2016, and both got a warm reception.


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