Occupy DC supporter Joseph Moehrl, 23, waves an American flag at a recent demonstration (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
WASHINGTON--If liberal demonstrators try to crash this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, the largest annual gathering of conservatives, attendees here say they'll be ready.
For weeks before the conference, conservative activists donned old jeans and hooded sweatshirts and went "undercover" at Occupy DC's downtown encampment. They sat in on meetings where Occupiers discussed plans to disrupt CPAC. Each day, the infiltrators posted what they heard to a private Google group of CPAC attendees and bloggers. Those who attended the meetings said they heard plans to cause "mayhem" at the upcoming conference and even threats of physical violence. Lachlan Markay of the conservative Heritage Foundation documented the reports and now conference attendees and organizers say they have made preparations to absorb any demonstrations.
At the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, where the conference is running until Saturday, security agents are stationed across the campus. Each entrance is manned by guards wearing ear-pieces, with others outside near the metro station.
"Let's just say we've adapted to everything," CPAC Security Director Floyd Resnick told Yahoo News Thursday, adding that he was not able to provide details about the conference security. Mark Indre, a spokesman for the hotel, confirmed that Marriott was taking security precautions.
In the hotel lobby Thursday, the room buzzed with conversations about how attendees would react if Occupiers arrived. Often a prime target of liberal protestors, online publisher Andrew Breitbart said he was excited about a possible clash with Occupiers during the conference.
"Screw them," Brietbart told Yahoo News in an interview in the hotel lobby. "I hate these people. They are the most evil, vicious people in the world."
Breitbart has no personal security guards--if you don't count his entourage of bloggers and fans who would spring to action if anything went down--but he said he's not worried about his safety.
"I'm omnipotent," he declared.
Not everyone at the conference, however, is so confident.
"I'm scared, but I'm also excited," said Dina Fraioli, a Republican strategist wearing buttons that read "A Conservative Chick" and an "I'm a Little Patriot" sticker. In her purse was a bottle of hairspray that she said she would gladly aim toward the eyes of anyone who got physical.
As of this writing, on the conference's first day, no incidents have been reported.
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