Captain’s Quarters was there and has the lowdown (his emphasis at the end)…

Rudy ends by invoking Ronald Reagan a final time, saying we need peace through strength. He’s getting a huge ovation as he leaves the stage, and it was a stirring speech, no doubt — and no surprise.

If you want a clue as to his impact here at CPAC, I’ll give you this description. Mitt Romney has turned out a fabulous response, with scores of young people acting as barkers for Mitt in the hallways. Campaign activists have prowled the hallways both days. Exhibitors have tried buttonholing passers-by to make their own special pleas. Everyone of these people gathered around television monitors, enraptured until the final word.

Still, CPAC is very conservative. Rudy wasn’t even invited to the last meeting. So how did he woo the hard liners?

He also alluded to his differences with CPAC activists. Giuliani said that he understands that we will have some differences, but told people to beware making your 80% ally a 20% enemy. He joked that he might have just described some marriages. Giuliani urged CPAC to focus on areas of agreement and to determine who will most effectively carry those points of agreement to the White House.

Electability. There you have it. But will that be the argument that defines the Republican nomination?

We’re about a year away from finding out.

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