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. Mitt Romney for President

    I agree that a lot of the independents are more libertarian than before, but Huckabee is wrong about CPAC. I think that he's disappointed that he was only able to get 6th place.

    CNN is just trying to convey a fractured political party. It's not. There are a lot of voices, but the 'infighting' isn't really happening.

    February 22, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Bubble of Sanity

    I like Huckabee, but he'd better think about what he said. The reason the trend is "more libertarian and less Republican" is because Republicans are looking more and more like the "Lite" version of Democrats, and everybody knows that "Lite" doesn't taste as good as the real thing.

    Republicans have become horribly boring and unimaginative, and their inability to inspire in the midst of a Democratic suicide run is probably the best shot that third party advocates have had in a long time. More power to 'em!

    February 22, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. tess

    i said 2 years ago to everybody who was thinking about hukster that he was a small, petty man whose jealousy of mitt romney was over the top. for a "religious" man he certainly came off as mean! he reminded me of jimmy carter – such a small, mean man – i say good riddance to bad rubbish!!!

    February 22, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. Wmscot

    Keep up the good work ! The infighting shows that we Democrats are not the only ones with problems. The only thing that I can not figure out is how the Republicans/Tea Party/ Libertarians can lock step with their party and we Democrats stay fragmented.

    February 22, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. Johnny American

    So, in other words, Keene is just confirming what many of us already knew right? Huckabee is butthurt about his low performance and wishes to discredit Ron Paul by saying what he said about CPAC. Honestly, it's not hard to read between the lines folks. It's the same MSM black balling of Ron Paul that went on in the 08 run. One only has to look to Faux news to confirm this. For 2 weeks, CPAC has been at the top of the main page over at FN. Ron Paul wins the straw poll and, geez, the story is virtually buried down near the bottom with the TMZ stories? It's pretty sad really.

    They don't want someone like Ron Paul stirring up the political soup. They want us to keep cheering for one side or the other like a bunch of drunk football fans. GO GOP! GO DEMS! BOOO GOP! RAH RAH RAH... While CNN, Fox and the rest all sop up all that partisan gravy, we're left to suffer. We may have 2 teams to root for, but unfortunately, they are both owned by the same entity.

    February 22, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    We need more Goldwater Conservatives and less religious right neo-cons. People like Huckabee, Rush, and Bush 43 are bad for this party and bad for this country.

    February 22, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Wade

    During interviews with Mike "the huckster" Huckabee at the Iowa straw poll, one was left with the impression that this fool would say or do anything to get elected. Huckabee came across as a liar and a hypocrite, and should NEVER be considered as a politician at ANY level. Then again, he fits the mold of most politicians from the Democratic and Republican parties.

    February 22, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. c spurgeon

    Libertarian Hell. I say they are wackos....

    February 22, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. johnnie w

    Who CARES, about what any of these MORON CLOWNS says, they have been the PARTY OF THE STUPIDS, Huckabee, did not stand any CHANCE ,of DEFEATING President Obama any way. And GOOD it is a WAR with THEMSELVES,and i have NEVER seen such IDIOTS, thinking they have the SOLUTIONS, to make our COUNTRY , come back to RECOVERY, they are PACK of LOSERS, ask ARNOLD....

    February 22, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Johnny American

    I will say though, CNN is doing a better job at least than some of the other online rags I read.

    February 22, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Kerzell

    Just proves the GOP would turn on their own mother if they don't get what they want. As recently as last year, these were the individuals who help him get on the ballot – now he calls unecessay.

    February 22, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. Gil Oberdas

    Whether it is the CPAC or the republican party (Party of NO) they are both a disgrace! They have pushed many of the moderates out and now "Loyalty Oath) Shame!

    February 22, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Fenarkleman

    Looks like lots of jowl flapping from here.

    February 22, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    An endorsement from CPAC is nothing more than a license to lie, hate and spread fear to the vulnerable mental midgets. Two weeks of crap from these right wing hate support groups is more than enough. Time for them to crawl back under the rock they came from.

    February 22, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. ted

    Huckabee is the canary in the mine shaft.

    February 22, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Brandon

    I like Mike Huckabee. If Pres. Obama was not my favorite in 2008, I would have next chosen Mike Huckabee. He seems to want to work with both parties. I know he is a Tea Party favorite which scares me. That makes me look at him twice over.

    February 22, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    10,000 conservative activists? But less than 3000 voted in their presidential nutball poll.

    February 22, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. andrewstl

    who cares about cpac. it is like the kkk hopefully it will become extinct

    February 22, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Reny

    Who cares what either one of them says? The Republicans only care about one thing: rich people.

    February 22, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Randy

    With no disrespect to Mr. Huckabee, I have a major problem with his arguement.

    "CPAC is becoming "increasingly libertarian and less Republican," Huckabee told Fox News on Saturday

    I think the problem is that Republicans are becoming less conservatative. That is why the tea party movement has done what it has done. If the republicians want to be closer to the middle than, the right, then the void at the right will be filled.

    Just because someone is a Republican does not mean they are conservative.

    With this being said, I see major long term problems for the Replublican party, and short term issues for conservatives. It will take conservatives 8-12 years, Republican's if they don't find thier place much longer.

    If they can get their platform together, their morals together, and do what they tell the people they stand for, then both groups will benefit.

    February 22, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Annie, Atlanta

    Would that be the same CPAC that was sponsored by the John Birch Society? I don't have the same belief in politics as Mike Huckabee, but I like what I've seen of the man, and I tend to agree with his reasoning on pay to play. Corporations are hidden behind all conservative movements. After all, they have an agenda that needs to be kept – $$$$ at all costs.

    February 22, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Did CPAC criticize a person who works for Fox lies? What will Hannity's Insanities say?

    February 22, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Patsy, Texas

    Good grief, these people not only bash the Democrats, they are
    bashing each other. The list of CPAC speakers should make
    all of us run for cover if these clowns are who they want running
    America. The hate coming out of these people and their total
    lack of any suggestion for solutions is remarkable. You really
    want Coulter, Beck, Gingrich, Palin and all of Fox News making
    decisions for us? OH yes, they did a great job for six years of no-bid
    contracts for Halliburton, no vetoes on spending bills, no
    oversight on big business, preaching fear, fear, and more fear.
    Working together never entered their minds, much less was
    talked about. Sadder days ahead with these people? You betcha!!!!

    February 22, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    I love it when these dimwitted rightwing baboons eat their own.....

    February 22, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Libertarian

    CPAC = Conservative political ATTACK conference?

    They say Libertarian like it's dirty word. I may be prejudice BUT to me, Libertarian IS conservatism without RADICALISM. Our Founding Fathers VERY STRONGLY believe in SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. The radical repubs want us all to believe they were bible-thumping Southern Baptist. NOT.....funny....most of them were Masons....an organization consider Satanic by the radicals.

    February 22, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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