February 22nd, 2010
01:24 PM ET
4 years ago

CPAC organizers hit back at Huckabee

CPAC’s chief organizer, David Keene, says Mike Huckabee’s recent comments about his event have ‘perplexed’ the American Conservative Union.
CPAC’s chief organizer, David Keene, says Mike Huckabee’s recent comments about his event have ‘perplexed’ the American Conservative Union.

Washington (CNN) - The organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference are hitting back at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who argued over the weekend that the annual convention's influence among conservatives is waning.

CPAC is becoming "increasingly libertarian and less Republican," Huckabee told Fox News on Saturday, one reason he said he decided not to attend this year.

But that claim is not true, said David Keene, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which has organized CPAC for 37 years.

"We were frankly a perplexed by Governor Huckabee's comments about CPAC given our long and cordial relationship with him and his family," Keene said in a statement provided to CNN.

Keene said Huckabee could not appear at the conference due to a scheduling conflict with his television show. At no point, he said, did Huckabee express concerns about the legitimacy of the event.

"We offered him several time slots, but on December 18th received an email from his scheduler saying essentially what the Governor's daughter told reporters over the weekend," Keene said. "The email from Kristin Dulin, the Governor's Director of Scheduling, said that he wouldn't be able to join us because he would have to be in New York to do his show, but assured us that he 'appreciates the invitation and hopes that you have a wonderful event.'"

Huckabee, who finished a disappointing tie for sixth place in the CPAC presidential straw poll, also accused the conference of being a "pay for play" event, not "truly grassroots."

Keene said the governor "has been misinformed."

"Many of those invited are from groups that are neither co-sponsors nor financial supporters of the conference itself," he said in the statement.

Full statement from American Conservative Union chairman David Keene after the jump:

I can only assume that the Governor has been misinformed as to how CPAC operates. Our cosponsors meet several times before each conference to suggest topics and speakers who they believe should be invited. Many of those invited are from groups that are neither co-sponsors nor financial supporters of the conference itself. This year, for example, groups that provided speakers without having to "pay to play" included among others Fox, the American Enterprise Institute, The Club for Growth, The Tea Party Patriots, Students for Life and dozens of others.

The Governor himself has spoken at several CPAC conferences in the past and we worked with him to see if we could get him to CPAC 2010. We offered him several time slots, but on December 18th received an email from his scheduler saying essentially what the Governor's daughter told reporters over the weekend. The email from Kristin Dulin, the Governor's Director of Scheduling, said that he wouldn't be able to join us because he would have to be in New York to do his show, but assured us that he "appreciates the invitation and hopes that you have a wonderful event."

We did! CPAC 2010 drew more than 10,000 conservative activists from around the country representing every part of the movement and including more than 5,000 college students. The Governor's daughter Sarah, who introduced her dad at last year's conference, was part of the record-breaking crowd this year. Sarah participated in XPAC, the student lounge at CPAC sponsored by Xtreme Media (radio hosts Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin). Organizers said she did a great job and the CPAC students loved her.

We hope next year she'll be back and bring her dad!






Filed under: CPAC • Mike Huckabee • Popular Posts
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Down with Huckabee.....

    we're all about Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachmann and Liz Cheney......

    Go Tea Party...drain the swamp in Washington.....

    February 22, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. max

    Love it ... eat each other up ... you all suck

    February 22, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    CPAC should start their own party, just a little revision on the name,
    CRAZY REPUBLICAN ANTIAMERICANPARTY, or CRAP,

    February 22, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. justin

    Straight up, congress is broken.
    Firtst of all, we need leaders who are thinking about the future of the human race not just their reputations and holdings. It is time for people who think beyond themselves to be in charge. Republicans and Democrats have no idea how to run a common wealth, capitalistic society.
    If they did, then they would know that the only way to solve our economic woes is to gear our economy toward an infinite goal such as; space colonization. It is a fact that our time here is limited so if we wish to conitinue our species we need to act swiftly. Who wouldn't want to invest in our future while constantly enjoying the technological innovations such endeavors would create.
    Also, our politicians should be willing to be completely open and honest with the public. If they are unwilling to comply than they are not right for the job. I live in Michigan and I'll be the first to admit that I am not perfect but if were the governor of my state for four years I would be 100% willing to be on camera 24/7. I would let the public see and know everything I do. Also, I would not have any shame in being completely honest about my past. I would not care about how I was because it would be my civic duty to only care about the COMMON WEALTH OF THE ENTIRE PUBLIC.
    We want to see Sacrifice on Their part to achieve something greater than senseless squabbling and puffery. For example, rather than bailing out all the banks they should have also cleared the credit of all Citizens with outstanding debt pertaining to those specific loans. If they would have done that then the economy would have taken off like a rocket, especially if the government geared it toward space colonizations and green technology. Instead they muff a field goal kick when the game is on the line.
    Adam Smith, the famous economist, knew that this would happen as he specifically states that a free market capitalistic economy should take care of itself, only when structured within ethical boundaries. So to put it simply, it is time we put the Ethics back into Captialism because without Ethics Capitalism is Chaos. That means that if you swing Republican, question your leaders and if you are for Democrats, question your leaders because it is your civic duty to be skeptical rather than follow blindly in misplaced beliefs.
    Your Welcome.

    February 22, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Huckabee and Sarah Palin both have jobs at FOX news. when they enter the race for President next time, they'll both take a leave from FOX until they withdraw

    February 22, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Jim

    While I'm sure Huckabee's comments were motivated by sour grapes, he does have a point. The straw poll went to Rep. Ron Paul, which is about as libertarian as you can get. Given the GOP refused to allow Paul to participate in the party debates last election, I doubt CPAC is representative of where the GOP is going.

    Besides, Paul is really is a one trick pony. Paul has no policy or agenda beyond slashing the government to almost literally nothing. Almost by definition Paul doesn't think the government should be involved in anything. People may believe the government is broken, but "suck it up and fend for yourself" is difficult to sell to everyone feeling the pinch.

    Paul is older than McCain, too.

    February 22, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Phil Hurd

    If the White House had to go to a conservative, I'd pick Huckabee just because he is the only one who seems half way honest and to have a degree of intelligence. It would be scary as hell but honestly held opinions sure beat the Limbaugh/Hannity hate machine sucking around the corporate rulers. Huckabee might even learn quickly due to his honesty.

    February 22, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. carlos

    huckster..........they not only threw you under the bus....they threw you under a loaded train.....those are your evil CONS....no morals....but we knew it already.........now they have a 14 year old rising star......coulter, bachmann and palin, the insignificants

    February 22, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    While the CPAC tea baggers were busy stirring up the the knuckle draggers and advocating more violence against "big government" by that moronic Pawlenty, and celebrating the fact that someone was fed up with the IRS and "no taxation without representation" and had taken action, well, here ya go CPAC.

    I now have 3 new heroes, they are the ones who have burned down 11 meeting places of the "christian cabal" centered in East Texas.

    Of course, no one has been killed by my "heroes" but then I am not a con that advocates guns, killing abortion doctors or IRS employees.

    February 22, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. bruce

    Who write CNN's headlines?! CPAC's statement doesn't "bash" anyone. And even "hit back" is too strong to describe this mild, amicable statement. Is it editors trying to make news or make controversy where there isn't much?

    February 22, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. JonDie

    CPAC and the Tea Party are anarchists bent on literally destroying the country.

    February 22, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    "CPAC is becoming "increasingly libertarian and less Republican," Huckabee told Fox News on Saturday, one reason he said he decided not to attend this year."
    No one is going to be fooled again by the conservatives making claims to be for smaller government, being constitutionalists and leaast of all being more Libertarain

    I'm sure we'll hear an awful lot about "limited government" from the mouths of CPAC politicians over the next few days. If I had a nickel every time a conservative said "limited government" and didn't mean it, I'd be a very rich man.

    Unlike libertarians, most conservatives simply don't want small government. They want their own version of big government. Of course, they have done a pretty good job of fooling American voters for decades by repeating the phrases "limited government" and "small government" like a hypnotic chant.

    It's interesting that conservatives only notice "big government" when it's something their political enemies want. When conservatives want it, apparently it doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants a trillion-dollar foreign war, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants a 700-billion-dollar bank bailout, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants to spend billions fighting a needless and destructive War on Drugs, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants to spend billions building border fences, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants to "protect" the huge, unjust, and terribly inefficient Social Security and Medicare programs, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants billions in farm subsidies, that doesn't count.

    It's truly amazing how many things "don't count."

    Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh can't ever be satisfied with enough military spending and foreign wars.

    Conservatives like Mitt Romney want to force everyone to buy health insurance.

    Conservatives like George W. Bush - well, his list of supporting big-government programs is almost endless.

    Ronald Reagan, often praised as an icon of conservatism, signed massive spending bills that made his the biggest-spending administration (as a percentage of GDP) since World War II.

    Some people claim that these big-government supporters aren't "true conservatives." Well, if a person opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, opposes the War on Drugs, opposes border fences, and opposes mandatory Social Security and Medicare, it's hard to believe that anyone would describe that person as a conservative at all. Most people would say that person is a libertarian (or maybe even a liberal).

    Obviously, most liberals don't want limited government either. It's just that their support for big government leans toward massive handout and redistribution programs.

    The fact is, liberals and conservatives both want gigantic government. Their visions sometimes look different from each other, but both are huge. The only Americans who truly want small government are libertarians.
    An article posted at CNS News, linked prominently from the Drudge Report, noted that the Obama administration is on track to beat the Franklin Roosevelt administration in terms of average federal spending as a percentage of GDP. However, the article failed to note that the Reagan Administration already beat the Franklin Roosevelt administration easily. Roosevelt's average was 19.4 percent of GDP, while Reagan's average was 22.3 percent of GDP. (Source: White House OMB data)

    February 22, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Minnesotan

    CPAC is luring in all the ultra-right wing nuts. I say "Go For It!" That way, they're all together and irrelevant in one big group. Besides, they can get group discounts on Kool-Aid and Tinfoil Hats! What a bunch of anti-American haters, just like the Taliban.

    February 22, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Bryan

    Great response to Huckabee's whining!

    February 22, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Nick , California

    Let the purity tests begin!! We are going to see the true colors of the Republicans when they are all kicking fighting for POWER! Its not enough for them to serve the public in the positions they currently reside in( as most need a whole lot of work), but they want more.. and more.. and more.. at any cost!! Trust is the only thing that can keep any relationship alive.. and I don't trust either party!!

    February 22, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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