February 22nd, 2010
01:24 PM ET
5 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. Dodd Democrat...

    I think Huckabee has come to realize that he will never be the Republican nominee, so he is focused on increasing his ratings.

    Which would explain why he invited First Lady Michelle Obama onto his show.

    February 22, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Jim

    They're all nuts. We can't have a small government or no government in a world that is this complicated and this crowded. Small government is code for "We want big corporations like credit card companies to be able to rip you off without recourse." What we need is a government that is well funded and works for those of us who aren't rich,

    February 22, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. Rick

    Can someone please explain to me where the "CPAC boss bashes Mike Huckabee" as the CNN ticker link headline calls it?

    Oh right, if CNN doesn't refer to a reasonable response as anything but a "bash" or "slam" then I am less likely to click it, and that means less ad revenue for this entertainment generating machine that they like to refer to as a news organization.

    February 22, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. blounttruth

    Unreal, since when does Mike Huckabee represent conservative values? I thought that during the primaries he wholeheartedly supported the policies of the Bush administration like his partner Romney. Huckabee was always a high tax Republican in Arkansas, but I am sure he will flip flop come election time, with no plan on following through with any conservative campaign promises. A wolf in sheeps clothing hiding behind the bible is a dangerous thing.

    February 22, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. saywha

    As one of the very few "fair" Republican observers on the scene today, I think Huckabee knew CPAC was going to be the "Obama bashing-fest", that it was, and didn't want to be associated with it. Good for him!

    February 22, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Ken, Arizona

    Keene shouldn't be surprised that Huckabee lied to him; after all, he is a republican and that's what they do best.

    February 22, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Brian

    A party at war with itself. This is rich.

    February 22, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. tim indiana

    Are there really people out there who care what or who CPAC endorses?
    My daily prayer is "God protect me from Your followers–especially the tea-baggers"

    February 22, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. JR

    Don't you just love watching these cretins attack each other?

    February 22, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. therealmarie

    CPAC is nothing more than an organized KKK annual rally the Republicans have hallmarked.

    February 22, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. I am a voter

    The Republicans would be wise to stop bashing Ron Paul and liberty loving voters and start embracing. This is the future of the party and if neo-cons don't like it, they can start a third party and see how well their ideas work.

    February 22, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. David

    Suckabee = sore loser. He's still nothing more than a wolf-in-sheeps-clothes neo-con in the GOP.

    February 22, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Allen in Hartwell GA

    When they start fighting amongst themselves and eating their own does it mean they are no longer a factor on the national stage?

    February 22, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. gw

    Wonderful to see the right wing extremists beat each other up over who can be the most conservative. And, who are their spokespersons–Glenn Beck!! Palin!! Reagan, Buckley, and eve Goldwater must be spinning round and round in their graves listening to this.

    February 22, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. AmFem

    Not defending Huckabee, by any means. But, he was right to not attend this "convention." Just like the Tea Party movement, these losers only know how to trash the Dems and the current administration. They don't come up with any ideas for correcting the problems they're compaining about. Zippo, zilch, nada. All mouth and no substance. Typical.

    February 22, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. CR

    CPAC, Tea Party, ACU: Different flavors of kookery. None of these self-promoting, phony movements have a coherent ideology let alone should be described as conservative. Stylistic variations on the themes of hate, fear, and selfishness peddled to the followers. All of it is out of the mainstream of American values.

    February 22, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Shadysider

    We can only hope that Huckabee is right. I just hope Libertarianism becomes more pervasive among not only conservatives, but the larger Republican Party as a whole. They actually belive in the fiscal responsibility that the corparatist (Romney) and socially conservative (Palin) part of the party ONLY give lip service to. Plus they are socially liberal, or conservative, depending on how you look at it. Personally I think it's conservative to not have government impose on people's lives and to have equal rights for all, ergo I am pro-choice and and pro-gay marriage. As the youth gets older and the older voters die out, it seems inevitable that these movements become libertarian, so long as corparatist strings don't become attached to it.

    February 22, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. Mike in NYC

    By "increasingly libertarian and less Republican," Huck means increasingly less inclined toward an Israel-first foreign policy. If only.

    He needn't worry, seeing that Christinsane Palin's being groomed as the Tea Party queen. US politics, everywhere on the spectrum, has been safely kashered.

    February 22, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. karlo

    Could the 'good' reverend hucklberry be telling a falsehood? Where is that jesus freak buddy of his, chuckles norass been lately?

    February 22, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Bertina

    Loving this- lifelong democrat.

    February 22, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    They didn't have 100 grand to get Sarah Palin there to witness her 7% showing in the wingnut poll? The country ignored these idiots anyway.

    February 22, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. afgail

    Like every other Republican/conservative front group, CPAC is incapable of telling the truth. It has been widely reported that only 600 people showed up at their conference, not 10,000.

    February 22, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Michael

    More Lunatic-Fringe is more like it.

    February 22, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. pete

    lol, Huck called out the elite... Now they will hate him even more.. Huck is the working class candidate. We Love Huck Huck12....
    CPAC is a joke, the organizers booed their own poll, because they were mad that their GOP Insider didnt win. BOOOO Romney didnt win.
    Funny romney money runs CPAC and he cant win their Poll. Now that goes to show., you cant buy the election Romney.

    February 22, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. Hugo

    Obama 2012?

    Right, hey how about this one, Obama and Carter 2012, yeah, that is one helluva ticket to set us straight. What a couple of LOSERS, this guy is so far out of touch on what is happening we wont recover until 2013!

    February 22, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5