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The Golden State icon battling cancer shows his true (red, white and blue) colors at tribute.

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Western CPAC Honors Tom Fuentes’ Lifetime of Fighting the Good Fight

The Golden State icon battling cancer shows his true (red, white and blue) colors at tribute.

IRVINE, Calif.—Like just about everyone else in California Republican politics, the guests at the Western Conservative Political Action Conference here who attended its tribute to Tom Fuentes on Saturday evening know that the former Orange County GOP chairman and longtime conservative stalwart has been battling cancer.  But they also know that the feisty Fuentes still gets out to conservative and party functions and says what’s on his mind, in no uncertain terms.
 
In accepting the Western CPAC’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Fuentes, who turned 63 the next day, did not disappoint.
 
“Here’s someone who should be fighting for his life,” said 1992 Republican U.S. Senate nominee Bruce Herschensohn, who introduced Fuentes, “and, instead, he’s fighting for the causes he believes in.”
 
Flanked by his family and facing a hushed audience of fellow conservatives at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Fuentes cited the old adage about feeling as though he’d died and went to heaven.  In his words, “Imagine, if you will, a great room full of conservative friends, beautiful ladies, gentle harp music, a flowing bar, the American Flag on display, patriotic Boy Scouts, and, not a Liberal in sight!  For me, that is paradise!”  And at his tribute, he found his paradise—the flowing bar, surrounded by friends and beautiful women.  And there was not one liberal in sight.
 
Fuentes stressed the importance of gathering and sharing “common values and ideas,” but expressed sadness that “our nation and our state have gone astray.”  While referring to the illness that has slowed his pace considerably, the former GOP leader of America’s largest Republican County added that he still works for what he believes in through the telephone and e-mail.
 
What is now critical, he urged the Western CPAC, is that “we not allow RINOs [Republicans in Name Only] nor the limousine liberals to take over our party or our cause.” 
 
Asked before his remarks whether he would do as in other recent appearances and name the names of Republicans who have tried to dilute the conservative cause, such as former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and some of the wealthy GOPers whom Fuentes has fought, the former party boss told HUMAN EVENTS with a chuckle:  “I may not name names—just groups of people.”
 
Along with close friend Herschensohn, Fuentes was hailed as a leader and fighter for conservatism by other guests such as Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) and Tom Price (R.-Ga.), chairman of the House Republican Study Committee.  While the Orange County man may have his health challenges, it was evident from his remarks and the reaction from the audience that Tom Fuentes’ opinions and principles still ring vibrantly.

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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