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Attendees at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Credit: Newscom)

When about 100 passionate attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference get four Heritage Foundation policy experts all to themselves, they’re not about to let such provocative eggheads get away without engaging in a little robust Q&A.

So it was that moderator Genevieve Wood, senior contributor to The Foundry, wound up calling on a dozen or more members of the CPAC audience after the all-Heritage panel made a formal presentation late Friday afternoon geared to the think tank’s “Solutions 2014” initiative.

>>> Download Your Copy of Solutions 2014: A Uniting Vision For America

Among questions (paraphrased only slightly) directed to Heritage’s defense and national security expert Steven Bucci; family, religion and education expert Jennifer Marshall; economic freedom champion Terry Miller and domestic and economic policy chief Derrick Morgan:

  • Why do we let Russia’s Vladimir Putin walk all over us?
  • What hope can you give about defending traditional marriage?
  • What are the odds that religious liberty will prevail at the Supreme Court?
  • What’s China up to?
  • Why are we so nice to the left? We call them liberals and progressives. They’re socialists.
  • Is the government saying home-schooling is a privilege, not a right?
  • What’s the risk of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) occurring in the next five years?

Along the way, Wood referred the audience – about half of which appeared under 30 — to complimentary copies of the Heritage booklet “Solutions to Strengthen Our Future.”  It’s a tie-in with Solutions  2014, focused on ideas that the think tank believes can unite Americans. Wood also prompted  applause by mentioning Jim DeMint, “our new president,” and his emphasis on finding better ways to help Americans see how and why conservative ideas work.

Here are 12 of the panel’s memorable comments, most in response to questions:

  1. “Bullies have to be stopped at some point. … Words don’t put off people like Vladimir Putin; strength does.” – Bucci, on aggressive moves by Russia and China.
  2. “The opposition is overreaching so drastically. … We are not seeing a vision of tolerance out there, we are seeing a vision of intolerance.” – Marshall, on the drive to redefine marriage.
  3. “How pathetic is that?” – Miller, on the U.S. has slipped over six years from No. 4 to No. 14 on Heritage’s Index of Economic Freedom, published in cooperation with The Wall Street Journal.
  4. “We do have to demonstrate we care.”  – Morgan, on a “rare” agreement with Teddy Roosevelt.
  5. “We’ve got to have a final line of defense. We have an administration that says it’s not that important, and they’re wrong.” –Bucci, on the need to modernize nuclear deterrence.
  6. “Centralized health care decisions will lead to the trampling of individual freedoms.” – Marshall, on Obamacare’s threat to more than religious liberty.
  7. “To justify their policies and programs, liberals lie.” – Miller, on free trade and jobs.
  8. “The administration would like to stamp out [these options].” – Marshall, on parental choice in education.
  9. “Nonsense. They’re not reading the same intelligence reports I am, and those aren’t even the secret ones.” – Bucci, on the Obama administration’s proposed new cuts to the military.
  10. “Obama uses the rhetoric of war when discussing trade. That’s crazy.” – Miller, on the benefits of trade agreements.
  11. “It is not science fiction, it is real, it is not hard to do. … It is a significant risk.” – Bucci, on an EMP event.
  12. “We conservatives defend freedom because freedom leads to prosperity. … Above all, we love these ideas because they mean a better life for more Americans.” – Morgan, on what conservatives believe.

This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.