presidential hopefuls

More than two dozen members of the Republican Governors Association gathered this week in Boca Raton, Fla., to talk about policy issues and bask in their success after the recent midterm election.

Under New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's chairmanship, the RGA spent $130 million and achieved remarkable success at the polls: All but two Republican governors running for re-election won. And the GOP even won governors' races in deep blue states like Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland.

Start with a big ballroom at a resort hotel just outside D.C. Add thousands of conservative activists. Stir in hundreds of political journalists, and you've got an irresistible attraction for any Republican presidential hopeful.

For those with their eye on the Oval Office, it's also an early audition before a key audience.

It's the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC for short — where there's always talk of the next presidential election. This year as many as 10 possible 2016 candidates were invited to speak during the three-day event.