Welcome to the live coverage of the Restaurant Leadership Conference, the restaurant industry’s outstanding top-to-top meeting. I’ll be covering the highlights via this space. For a chronological account, read the thread from the bottom up.
We'll also be covering it via Twitter. Follow @monkeydish, or search for #RLC2011.
"All of you in this room will have a crucial role to play in the next 2 years," Ingraham implored the crowd. She urged them to contribute in whatever way they can to the political process, be it running for office themselves or merely contributing to the right candidates.
"I'd submit that most of you in this room had more experience than Barack Obama when he took the job."
Ingraham is making the point that there really isn't a strong, obvious candidate to challenge Obama in 2012.
What's dismaying, she said, is how many people are qualified to run but would rather not. She cited Chris Christie, the governor of New jersey.
She also mentioned Jeb Bush, but speculated he wouldn't run until 2016.
"If you think your country is day-by-day swirling down the drain, and you're content to stay you're going to stay out of a race that you can win," that's reprehensible, Ingraham asserted. "The country is literally teetering."
"This is no time to sit on the sidelines--our country demands it," she stressed, drawing a smattering of applause.
Mitt Romney is the hands down favorite to win the nomination next time around, Ingraham said.
Ingraham is criticizing Obama for being pictured with a soccer ball while our jets were taking off for Libya. She said the split screen showing Obama dribbling a soccer ball on one panel and the jets embarking on the other to be "appalling."
"It's a tone deafness," she said.
Obama's downfall, Ingraham asserted, was healthcare reform. She described it as a game-changer. "People didn't fall for all the razzle-dazzle," she said.
"We knew they [Congress] didn't read the bill. We knew they were pressured by President Obama."
Finally, Ingraham is moving to the meat of her presentation. She's talking about where the country was when Obama was elected, and how tired the populace was of the status quo. "We went for someone who was really different. We went for someone who both Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt both really liked." She acknowledged that the country wanted a new vibe, not "that white haired guy" (John McCain).
Laura Ingraham has taken the stage. She's now ranking on the public figures of Washington, including Michelle Obama (couldn't come because the RLC doesn't provide calorie counts), Joe Biden (his hair plugs) and President Obama (he blew his NCAA brackers because he was distracted by Libya.
David Jobe, the godfather of the RLC, has just announced a surprise guest for the conference: Ed Smart, the father of kidnapped-and-returned Elizabeth Smart, will be here to speak about the need to help locate missing children. RLC will help to raise money for that cause.