WASHINGTON – At a testimonial dinner Wednesday night at the Four Seasons in Washington, emceed by noted conservative attorney Cleta Mitchell, an audience of 500, including some of the most widely known and highly respected conservative leaders in America, gathered to celebrate conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly on the 50th anniversary of her seminal book, “A Choice, Not an Echo.”
The book by the 90-year-old founder of Eagle Forum has sold 3.5 million copies.
At this year’s Annual Paul Weyrich Awards Dinner, held in the memory of the conservative leader who co-founded both the Heritage Foundation and the Free Congress Foundation, the Weyrich Award was presented to Schlafly, one of Weyrich’s dearest friends and, like Weyrich, a legend in the conservative political movement.
“Phyllis Schlafly and the late Paul Weyrich were first and foremost great friends, so this would be reason enough to honor Phyllis,” said Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring.
“They were two of the greatest allies in American conservatism, fighting side-by-side to make America better. Phyllis’ updated book, ‘A Choice Not An Echo’ recounts many of these fights and is a worthy focus of the dinner honoring Phyllis.”
In a statement, Schlafly said Weyrich “was a tremendous figure in the early conservative movement, and I am proud to have called him my friend.”
“It is truly an honor to receive an award that bears his name, and I am thrilled that the dinner has chosen to highlight my updated “A Choice, Not an Echo” for a new generation of conservatives to see,” she said.
“We are facing the very same battles today that Paul and I faced in the last 50 years.”
In her acceptance speech, Schlafly articulated themes that once again showed the courage and resolve that was seen in the 1970s when she almost single-handedly defeated the feminist-supported Equal Rights Amendment.
“I will see you all there!” Schlafly said, declaring she can foresee the day when conservative values once again are dominant in the American political arena.
Dignitaries in attendance included former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina; Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and James Lankford, R-Okla.; Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., Dave Brat, R-Va., Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., Scott Garrett, R-N.J., Mark Meadows R-N.C., Marsha Blackburn R-Tenn., Louie Gohmert R-Texas, Steve King R-Iowa, Rod Blum R-Iowa, and Trent Franks R-Ariz.; former Reagan administration Attorney General Ed Meese; and conservative mega-donor Foster Friess.
The 2015 Weyrich Award winners included Fox News’ Megyn Kelly; journalist Sharyl Attkisson; Sen. Mike Lee; RNC committeeman Mort Blackwell; Paul Teller, chief of staff for Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas; Sen. Jeff Sessions R-Ala.; and Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine.
Touching tribute videos to Schlafly were offered by many friends, including former Bush administration Attorney General John Ashcroft, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Dr. James Dobson, RNC chairman Reince Priebus, Sen. Sessions, former Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin and former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
The Weyrich Dinner is held every year the night before the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC.