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. Kudzu Palin, LA

    I love watching compassionate conservative Republican hypocrites rip each other apart.

    February 22, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. T'SAH from Virginia

    YEP – and still fighting!! Keep the fight going pass 2010!!!

    February 22, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. calvinist

    Ron Paul is a real conservative. Huckabee is a fake.

    February 22, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. Peggy

    I'm glad he stayed home. The man has never met a tax he did not like. He has the same spend, spend, spend mentality as the other entrenched representatives and congressmen. He would have done nothing different than the others on the bailouts. He had nothing to bring to the conference anyway.

    February 22, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. elaine

    Typical political reaction: If I can't win, I will just trash it. He has spoken at several of their events and he and his family have had a long-standing relationship with them. This is typical politics. Speak out of this side of your big mouth today and that side of you big mouth tomorrow while your little brain controls all of the phony words.

    February 22, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. ANGIE IN PA

    This is getting fun watching them tear eachother up!!! hahahahahaha

    February 22, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Did the John Birch Society get in free? Or were they paid?

    February 22, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, the question is why did only 2,000 plus people actually participate in the straw polling when there were 10,000 people listed as being there? I guess that these "conservatives" don't vote or didn't like the options that they were given.

    February 22, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. GDWJR

    My knee jerk reaction to this info is Huckabee is upset with his being in sixth place and didn't realize how his reaction to that can affect his future.

    February 22, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Duke

    Huckabee doesn't quite fit into the cpac mold. He speaks in complete sentences, pronounces his syllables, and knows how to have a conversation without yelling like a hillbilly. I'd like to see the teabaggers go along with the libertarians since they have much more in common with them then they do anyone else. Then no one would ever hear of them again.

    February 22, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. casey

    Corns a poppin'. Gonna enjoy watching these guys eat each other.

    February 22, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    This preacher is a sore loser and a liar and personally I don't see why people waste their time with Huckabee.

    February 22, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Total BS

    Sorry buddie...I believe Mike on this one !!

    February 22, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. notfooledbydistractions

    CPAC is becoming much more comedic, with less grounding in reality.

    The speakers offered nothing but snark – heck, I can get that out of my 7 year old. I want solutions and adult discussion from the legislators and potential candidates. CPAC was a joke, mental immaturity and derision at it's finest. I thought the guy railing on GOProud was pretty amusing – sad actually. The whole event was pretty pathetic – it doesn't present an appealing picture of conservatives today.

    February 22, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Avg Guy in Red State Kansas

    Rev. Mike is a VERY strong argument in favor of separation of church and state. He also serves as an excellent example of why some species eat their young.

    How any sentient and rational carbon-based life form can POSSIBLY identify with Huck and the neocons who find fault with everyone who doesn't believe as they do is one of life's great mysteries.

    Lemmie get this right: If a peson calls him or herself a "Democrat", they've gotta be a "tax-and-spend liberal", and, therefore, are dumber 'n a barrel of hair and ain't worth a warm bucket of spit, right?

    Jeez...

    February 22, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Anyone for Tea? NOT!

    The Tea Party is RIDO – "Republicans in disguise only". What a sham.

    The republicans (aka Tea Party) got clobbered in last year's election, and – true to form – they intend on using deception to mask their denial. Tell me what is not republican about this modus operandi? This IS how they operate.

    The bottom line is if you don't have a platform that regular voters can support, you need to mask it some way so they'll buy it. And what is even sadder is that this works for them so they keep coming back to it time and time again.

    Here is what the republicans (aka Tea Party) stand for: NO government; ALL free market. Nuf sed – that is all they are about.

    February 22, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    I don't know but for $500 an event to attend or an awful lot, that seems to me like pay to play. If that's the case, go to a Liberal fundraiser and talk about how you cling to guns, call people retarted, talk about evolutionary monkeys, etc.

    because other than that, Jesus value was as less than a pauper.

    February 22, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. geecee

    These CPAC people can't agree on anything, can they? That's what happens when you get so extreme – reality and common sense disappear and lunacy sets in. Good. I hope they go down the drain really soon! These big mouth maniacs have hurt this country over the past couple of years. We are so divided and full of hate, I have never seen such unreasonable anger before. Of course, I wasn't around during the Great Depression, but because people are down on their luck right now, does it mean they have to destroy our Government??

    February 22, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Steph

    Huckabee...Palin...Romney all are big whiners. Boo hoo hoo! Can anyone honestly say they'd want any of them as President of this country?!?! They can't even handle a little conference of their peers.

    February 22, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Peggy Tx

    Governor Huckabeeis a religious conservative who is eagerly is used by the corrupt GOP to scam a small group of religious people into voting against their self interest and vote for the GOP.

    Ron Paul is the obvious conservative voice. But the GOP scams finical conservatives as well and Ron Paul is his own man. Ron Paul can not be counted on to further corrupt GOP agenda and likely would be reasonable in working with Democrats for the good of the country. No that just would not work for the neo-cons, they must have some one stupid enough and corrupt enough to be their puppet in their corrupt political games driven by greed, need for power and an outrageous sense of entitlement.

    February 22, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. martin

    His 'denunciation' would carry more weight if he had delivered it _before_ they 'denunciated' him.

    February 22, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. bobster

    none of the cpac people have a clue! ...join the democrates before it's to late and the world comes to an end in 2012! just kidding, hate ya 'll.

    February 22, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. SocialismBad

    Huckabee is coming across as a bit of a whiner. He's a nice guy and all but he should have known better. Seems like winning this groups poll is not a good thing if you want to win the real prize!

    February 22, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Albert R. K. . L.A., CA

    It is very perplexing that any person would say CPAC is becoming "increasingly libertarian and less Republican." The politics of fear and flag were repeated over and over by every Republican there as if we can pay the bills with fear and flag alone. Huckabee was smart to not be seen with this group of from the global corporate mob.

    February 22, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Bill NY

    I love them all. I made a small fortune selling sheets at CPAC and the Tea Party Convention. Keep it up. You are putting my children through college and paying for their health insurance.

    February 22, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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