The Mirror

The Mirror investigates: Sex at CPAC 2014

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
Font Size:

“Are you asking me if I’m here to get laid?” asked the guy in the tortoise shell glasses, incredulous, through breath that could frankly use a Tic Tac.

In so many words, yeah, that’s the question and one that largely went over like a lead balloon all day Thursday — day one of the 50th Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor.

But there are always exceptions when it comes to sex, a not-so-hidden staple at events like CPAC, where a bunch of politically passionate college kids convene at a hotel with alcohol minus chaperones. Older CPAC attendees also have sex. “Two last year, two the year before,” said one clean cut, suited man on condition of anonymity. “It’s my Mardi Gras. One was random, the other three I knew over the years.”

A note on anonymity before we proceed: With such potentially embarrassing material — and the fact that these kids may one day seek jobs from employers who scan the internet — The Mirror granted interviewees permission to use only first names, or no names.

Tortoise shell, a senior named Dan at the University of Florida, snapped, “No, I’m not trying to do that. Is this a real interview?” After checking over the CPAC press pass hanging around my neck, he droned on about why he and his friends came here from Florida. Blah blah blah, they’re “compassionate conservatives” and seriously trying to change the country’s direction.

Upon hearing my questions, his two male friends began physically inching away, vaporizing me with their eyes.

Meanwhile across the way, The Mirror spotted Lisa de Pasquale, author of Meeting Mr. Righteous — a book about her faith and sexcapades — chatting up two guys near the lobby. Asked about sex and CPAC, she replied dryly, “Maybe you should interview me tomorrow morning.”

Some years ago, de Pasquale recalls a hook up that resulted in photographs being sent to the wife. She didn’t want to share names to protect the parties involved. She also remembers a CPAC staff member who met his wife here, as well as Dan and Marilyn Quayle, whose passion first ignited at the conference.

In 2005, Erick EricksonRedState’s editor-in-chief and a Fox News contributor, went to the CVS across the street from CPAC, then held at the Reagan Center. In line, he encountered a bunch of guys with CPAC badges buying condoms. “They were buying condoms and wearing their CPAC credentials and I just thought it was hilarious,” said Erickson outside a café in the Gaylord hotel. He said he thought that perhaps they should have removed the badges before buying the condoms.

While many of this year’s CPAC attendees were skittish upon approach about the topic of sex, nearly everyone I asked had something to say. One attendee who needed no coaxing was 21-year-old Joe. “Last year I got blown at the back of a bar,” he said. His male and female friends standing nearby began chuckling, but he continued right on, affirming and reaffirming that the blow job in question happened at Harrington’s, a bar just down the street from the hotel.

“I met this girl the night before. She texted at 7 p.m. and had heard about an open bar party. I got really drunk and we started making out,” he recalled. Soon they agreed to go somewhere “more private.” In other words, the back of the bar, where there was a curtain of sorts. Joe warns: “I suggest not eating there.”

He said he left the following morning and thinks he and the woman texted a little. He didn’t seem terribly sure about that though. As for this year, he said, “I haven’t seen her.” He reasoned, “Kids getting drunk. Things happen.”

But not everyone believes that’s such a hot idea.

A 23-year-old Catholic college senior with floppy dark bangs gave a different take on sex and CPAC — it shouldn’t happen. “I think it’s unfortunate that CPAC has come to that,” he said, shielding his CPAC credentials to hide his name. “I think the hook-up culture is real. I think there is still a place for morality and God.”

But he appeared to understand the inevitably of it all: “These are college kids. I’m not blind.”

An Arizona student, meanwhile, said he thinks sex at CPAC is “not ideal.” He said he’s a Christian, adding, “Not everyone who is conservative is religious. But for me personally, I think physical intimacy is for someone you care about. I won’t be doing that. I’m happy to socialize with people in a PG way. It’s possible to have a good time without doing that. Except free hugs – free hugs all day!”

Other males also said they’d be skipping sex this year.

“It’s just not my first priority,” said one in a pair of 20-year-old “Davids” who wished to withhold their last names.

David II said, “I’m here for the event and the message and future of the country. My priority is the future of the country.”

Ali Akbar, who runs the famous Blog Bash party at CPAC, which was held Thursday night, had a lightening fast reaction to the sex and CPAC story. “No comment,” he said stiffly. He was otherwise chatty about his party and his hairdo.

But for every attendee who didn’t want to talk about it, there were many more who would. Take the two guys who have shown up to the conference before. Said one, “This girl I know was working hard to get her CPAC body. She was posting pictures on Facebook. She looked pretty good.”

His friend flashed his wedding ring and said he wouldn’t be looking.

But forget about being attached. Some questioned the sexiness of the event itself.

“No one is going to say, ‘That was a rousing speech. Let’s fuck,'” said a journalist.

photo-74Several Wisconsin college students with shaggy hair looked like sex was the last thing on their minds. “I’m in a committed relationship,” said one male, when pressed. “I’ll probably have a glass of wine with dinner.” Another replied, “I think it’s a great place to make professional contacts.”

A trio of attractive young women from Ohio were equally dismissive of the idea of sex at CPAC. But they still seemed like they were up for fun and said logistics would prevent things from heating up. “A lot of us have rooms with four people,” said Kennedy. “I don’t see it happening. Not much opportunity.”

Her friend Alisha added, “I wouldn’t be open to the idea of hooking up here.”

And Bethany: “I personally wouldn’t be open to it. I just don’t think it’s classy.”

David, a college student in Tennessee, said he was there for “politics and liberty” and not the hook-up scene. But can’t sex and politics mix? “I don’t think so,” he replied. “I don’t think you can come here with a sense of responsibility and be thinking about anything else.”

Still, a reporter staying at the hotel overnight was open to multi-tasking. “Even I brought condoms. Just to be safe,” he said. “Just in case something happens.”