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. Justin

    CPAC: "We're NOT irrelevant. Really, really, really, really!!"

    February 22, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. John

    There's no question that this year's CPAC took a strong Libertarian tone. Ron Paul's success in the straw poll confirms that. The conservative movement in general is more Libertarian than anything else. The trend to the form of hard-line right-wing ideology is likely to ruin the Republican Party.

    February 22, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Ben

    The outcome of the straw poll is very shockingly simple: people like Huck, Ging, Palin, etc, are actually not as popular or well liked as they are portrayed on Fox News and by political pundits.
    If Ron Paul wins the poll, I guess that means the GOP ain't going anywhere close to taking back the White House, let alone the Senate and Congress.

    February 22, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. american patriot

    Another Repug Huckabee singing the blues.

    Get your teeth fixed and stop crying to stay in the lime light.

    February 22, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. Jason

    THis group is dangerous in that it believes that if you are not in lock-step with them you are un-American. These are the kind of people who are responsible for the kind of partisan fighting that has stalled the nations' real work.
    After all, why solve a problem that will benefit everyone, when you can focus on things that only benefit yourself.

    February 22, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. duckunder

    Mike Huckabee is absolutely correct.

    February 22, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    Way to go Governor Huckabee!! Keep up the good work. This is getting good. We love to see these nut jobs eating their own.

    February 22, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. Ben

    I don't think the average conservative pays much attention to CPAC; after all, their last three straw polls have been won by Romney, who's about as elitist and non-grassroots as you can get, besides being a flip-flopping liberal. After all the bank bailouts, it's a bad time to try to sell a big-money advocate like Mittens, and the organizers must be upset (but shouldn't be surprised) that he lost the poll this time. "Winning CPAC" has been Romney's main "conservative credential," and a mighty poor, manufactured one at that. It's a case of the tail trying to wag the dog, only to find that it's tied to the top of the car.

    February 22, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Duck Fallas

    This is silly. Neo Nazis shouldn't be squabbling.

    Hopefully, unemployment will rise, or the stock market will crash, or there will be a terrorist attack so these guys can all rally together against the President and be happy.

    February 22, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. harold

    I hope all the persons receiving votes in straw pole run for President. I can't wait for the debates. It will be who can be the most conservative. Conservative talk shows and Fox News lead the rating wars. Why, because most independantly minded folks have better things to do with their time than to sit around and complain about how bad things are and allow some blow hard to shape their thinking. What a country we live in!

    February 22, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Clacks

    I sure do like this Mike Huckabee, but don't mind ...let me let you fire away at him (take your best shot but I agree with Gov. Huckabee)

    February 22, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Sadie

    Looks to me like CPAC is a group that supports the far right radical convervatives and not the Republican Party ..... the conservative radicals are not the main stream of America and will continue to lose the loyal republicans......if your not radical you don't belong......you can't be a republican if your are main stream or moderate....you will be what the CPAC and TEA BAGGERS tell you to be or you can't be in the GOP anymore........

    February 22, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Voice of Reason

    While i disagree with many of Mike Huckabee's opinions, you gotta love the fact that he calls a spade a spade. The CPAC is a good 'ol boys club for the rich. The same people who are making $millions$ from this Astroturfing, slippery-slope-touting, tea-bagging movement. They tell the masses what they want to hear, garner ratings for the likes of Rush and Beck, get $100K for a 45-minute speaking engagement, and laugh all the way to the bank.

    The poor duped everyday flag-waving blue-collar patriots who think this is a real movement get all hopped up on this 'throw the bums out' rhetoric, and never realize that they are being used. They chant and cheer about 'lets take our country back' and dont realize that they are being lied to.

    February 22, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. katiec

    Love to see the republicans fighting among theirselves.
    Further proof that they are a confused party who has lost it's way in representing the American people.
    What they claim they stand for is so hypocritical and irresponsible and they cannot even agree on what that is!

    February 22, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. B

    Their even beginning to eat their own.....

    Epitome of extremism.

    February 22, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. MatthewDetroit

    Huckabee is a Tax and Spend Republican.

    He is also a whiner.

    He is moving into the irrelevant range and knows it.

    Sour Grapes Huckabee. Sour Grapes.

    February 22, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Pragmatic

    Sour grapes made into Conservative whine ... would Pastor Huck be more supportive if he had come in 2nd?

    February 22, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. king1

    I knew this was comming when the tea party people were condeming democrats for taxing and spending and Republicans like Huckabee were jumping for joy but now that teaparty people who have said all along the problem is not only the democrats but also the republicans. Now he has a problem. He just doesnt get it Both are the problem this shows me that he is another Politics as Usualy politician. The reason we have the mess of OBAMA is because people were running to anything to get away from the failures of W.

    February 22, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. rosslaw

    Why does CNN run a story between the 6th place finisher in a meaningless straw poll taken among persons who believe accounting fraud is an acceptable way to minimize a deficit, "support the troops" means slapping a yellow metallic ribbon on your car and absolutely nothing more and the earth is 6,00 years old. It's not as though nothing important is happening in the world1

    February 22, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. KC

    Let the implosion begin! Whatever momentum Republicans, Conservatives, Tea-Partiers, or LIbertarians had is already dying. Too many factions.

    February 22, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Joseph

    Huck's right, CPAC even allowed nutty "The John Birch Society" to have a booth. In doing that, they promote the society and no SANE Republican would be involved with that nutty organization

    February 22, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. Hows that nonunion made Toyota workin for ya?

    Look at the lying face of this old Rooster plucker,hahaha,they must grow these morons in pods.

    February 22, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. AndyBlue

    Huckabee was right. This CPAC convention was a joke.

    With Cheney, Palin, Coulter etc. it seemed to represent the worst of the republican party. These people are the same people turning America away from the repubs. They are just too extreme.

    Nothing but ridiculing, bashing and obstruction. Its amazing they dont see themselves as they keep stumbling over and over.

    I could never vote for any of these clowns at CPAC. I would be embarrassed to.

    February 22, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Dubya

    Huckleberry is jsut mad becuase he did not place better than he did. Dog-gone-it; they don't really like him!

    February 22, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Iowa Voter

    Apparently, 'Republican', is a dirty word even among conservatives.!~

    Try as you may, the words 'Conservative' and 'Republican' will always be synonymous to the majority of ignorant American voters!~

    February 22, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
1 2 3 4 5