2016 not far off at crucial conservative conference
January 17th, 2013
05:00 AM ET
1 year ago

2016 not far off at crucial conservative conference

Washington (CNN) - Four possible 2016 GOP White House hopefuls will speak at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, a popular cattle call for Republicans considering bids for the White House.

CNN has learned that 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum will address CPAC. A senior adviser to the former two-term senator from Pennsylvania says Santorum has accepted an invitation to speak at the conference, which this year will be held March 14-16.

And the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual conference, announced Thursday that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who was elected to the Senate in 2010 with strong support from tea party activists, will give an address at the event.

Last week the American Conservative Union announced that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman and last year's Republican vice presidential nominee, will be a featured speaker at the gathering. And earlier this week CNN confirmed that Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky will also speak at conference.

CPAC is the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists, and it's boosted the presidential campaigns, or ambitions, of many Republican candidates. The annual CPAC GOP presidential nomination straw poll is considered a key gauge of conservative sentiment, and garners much media attention.

Santorum was once considered a long shot for the 2012 GOP nomination, but he ended up coming out on top in the Iowa caucuses and battled eventual nominee Mitt Romney deep into the primary season last year. After dropping out, Santorum launched "Patriot Voices," a nonprofit advocacy group that pushes for conservative causes and candidates.

Santorum, who was very popular with social conservative voters during the primary season, has hinted that he may make another run for the White House. "I'm open to that possibility," the Republican said when asked about a 2016 presidential bid in late November on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

ACU Chairman Al Cardenas praised Rubio, saying "my friend Marco Rubio has quickly become one of our nation's most prominent conservative leaders. Senator Rubio's participation will serve as motivation to CPAC attendees and conservatives across the country to take action and bring our country back on track."

CPAC, which turns 40 this year, will be held for the first time at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside Washington, in Prince George's County, Maryland. For years the conference was held at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in the nation's capital.


Filed under: 2016 • CPAC • Rick Santorum
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Name lynn

    Rick what can you say to the people to make it right, put your money where your mouth is. People is not going to believe you anyway go ahead a speak.

    January 17, 2013 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  2. sick of republican phonies

    Keep running, Rick! Only 11 more tries for the presidency and you'll tie Harold Stassen!

    January 17, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  3. John

    All I know the three that have talk so far don't have a chance of winning, so really you are 0-3. And the bad thing Is your group started out bad and keep getting worst.

    January 17, 2013 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Has anyone noticed how the Christian Conservative wing of the Republican Party has stayed completely out of the national conversaton about guns? Could it be that they do not want to sound like hypocrites be siding with more guns? Could it be that they do not want to stay true to their faith, which contradicts the apparent Republican line on the issue?

    January 17, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have any one of these 3 fools get the nomination for the 2016 GOP ticket. ANY democrat would beat them like a drum

    January 17, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    Yes Rick, please run your party NEEDS you!!! ROFLMAO!! This guy really wants to be relevant. So sad and pathetic, the perfect gift to the Democratic Party. I wonder if Mittens will run again???

    I sure hope Hillary or General Powell runs. Either of them have my complete support. However if it is General Powell, it will be my first and last time voting republican. Unless General Powell switches parties......

    January 17, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  7. Sandy

    "First on CNN: Rick Santorum to speak at key conservative conference"

    WHO CARES!

    January 17, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  8. Wake up People!

    It's so funny you have all of these faux conservatives constantly yelling about smaller government, yet they all want a government jobs.

    January 17, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  9. Don

    When will these self centered egotists learn that the American People will only reject them again in 2016

    January 17, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. plain&simple

    Keep inviting the extreme ,then wonder how you lose big national elections....the fringe cannot govern the mainstream. The fringe will never be anything other than fringe. Write about them ,promote them , its the best way to let the masses know what to identify as unbalanced.

    January 17, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Hi, folks. Remember me? I'm the guy who was thrown out of the Senate by double-digits, then tried to convince people that I was the only real candidate in the primaries. I am the one who lost the Catholic vote to Mitt Romney in every state where we competed. I am the one who lost the woman's vote, the college educated vote, the Jewish vote, the Hispanic vote, the Asian-American vote, even the blue-collar white working-class vote!
    But I am the only viable candidate. We obviously lost the election by as much as we did because we did not alienate enough voters. I promise if you nominate me over any other of these elitist snobs that I will alienate even more voters and make the Republican Party about as relevant as the Whigs were in 1860!

    January 17, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    If Santorum is a serious presidential candidate to win the 2016 GOP/Tea Party nomination, it would indicate rebranding efforts failed miserably.

    January 17, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. Mark in Seattle

    The republicans have not learned a thing.

    January 17, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. TNPatriot

    Well, if these four are a sign of the GOP candidate pool for 2016, the Dems must be celebrating already.

    January 17, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. clarke

    we really need a break, no more talk about 2016. Live for today!

    January 17, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. Warren

    Do we really need to hear about 2016 already? They should not be able to even talk about it until November 2015 and not start collecting money until then either. GIVE US A BREAK AND GET TO WORK. Do what you are being paid to do.

    January 17, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Benjamin

    I like Santorum and he may be my choice for 2016....

    January 17, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    I dont like anything about that group of four. And they dont stand a chance in hell of wining a national election. So lets get real. republicans need fresh faces and new ideas. And somebody who understands that america is changing.the four men this post named would insure an easy path for clinton to the white house

    January 17, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. TheObserver

    So, the Repubs will once again double down on their extremism? I guess one stab at rolling out a candidate with centrist views was all the Repubs could stomach. Back to Plan A, I suppose. Let's legislate the Bible, and let the decision to give birth or not go to Washington, and kill as many non-believers and brown people as possible. But most importantly, let's see if he can set a new Republican record for most proposed blatant violations of the Establishment clause. He's got some work ahead of him, but he might just do it!

    January 17, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Expat American

    The demographic landscape of the country will continue to change over the next decade(s). The likelihood of a 'True Conservative' in the White House is becoming smaller with each passing day. You cannot force 1950s ideology onto people in 2012, 2016 or beyond.

    January 17, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. Paul in NH

    so they're going to roll out the same band of losers and hypocrites that couldn't unseat Mitt the Twit in the primary process – I understand the preaching to the choir thing with CPAC and all, but they represent a smaller and smaller piece of 21st century American demographics heaven help us (full pun intended) if any of these reach the Oval Office

    January 17, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. Logic N LA

    The fact that we may have to listen to the hateful, antiquated thinking of Rick Santorum yet again is enough of a reason for an information blackout. My hope for the next round of primaries the media loudly calls the candidates out for their lies.

    January 17, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |