Washington (CNN) - Following his disappointing sixth place finish in this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee criticized the conference as increasingly irrelevant to the conservative movement and accused its organizers of conducting a "pay for play" event.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian icon, won Saturday's straw poll with 31 percent of the vote. Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich each took in 4 percent, earning them a tie for sixth.
Huckabee, who has never fared well in the poll, said the results did not surprise him. "CPAC has has become increasingly libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn't go this year," he said Saturday on Fox News, where he is a paid contributor.
The 2008 GOP presidential candidate said the "truly grassroots" energy on the right lies in the Tea Party movement.
"Where CPAC was historically the event, the Tea Parties now are having their own events all over the country and a lot more truly grassroots people are getting involved because of the Tea Parties," Huckabee argued.
He added: "Because of the way that [CPAC] solicits sponsors it has almost become a pay-for-play. It's almost like, who will pay money to be able to be a sponsor and get time on the program. It's one of the things that has hurt it's credibility in recent years."
A CPAC organizer did not respond when asked to comment on Huckabee's observations.
A little sour grapes there, Rev Mike?
Huckabee would be a major threat to the average American if elected President.
Maybe there were not enough released felons taking part in the poll.
Like anyone is going to vote for a fox news pundit anyway.
Fox news has destroyed many republican politicians just by association to the News organization that call others "UnAmerican".
Perhaps "sour grapes" Huckabee? I can assure you that I would never vote for you, no matter what party you were a candidate for.
Geez, are those 'sour grapes' that I'm tasting here?
Huckabee is soooo confused. CPAC is too libertarian because Ron Paul won the straw poll? Here's the bad news for you, Huck! That "truly grassroots" movement you referred as true conservatism movement was also started by Ron Paul supporters back in 2007! Thx to Glenn Beck, who once dismissed Paul, but now almost re-born libertarian, TPM has become a political force (though they don't always agree with Ron Paul all issues). The whole establishment is now scratching their head and trying to find out what's going on. hehe
"CPAC has has become increasingly libertarian and less Republican over the last years..."
Actually, I strongly suspect that it's the Republicans whose philosophies have drifted, not those of CPAC. Once upon a time, Republicans, like Libertarians, really stood for small government, fiscal restraint, and respect of individual rights. Now, Republicans, the "neo-cons," seem to be as much in favour of Big Government and busting budgets as the Democrats. Modern Republicans seem to think it's okay to spy on Americans, tap their phones, and dictate to people who they're allowed to love.
Basically, it was people like Huckabee who stole the Republican Party from real Republicans and ruined its good name by repudiating everything for which it once stood, and by turning it into the party of self-righteous narrow-mindedness.