February 27th, 2013
05:56 PM ET
2 years ago

Christie dismisses lack of CPAC invite

(CNN) - Gov. Chris Christie, the outspoken Republican from New Jersey, says he isn't offended that an invite to the Conservative Political Action Conference was not offered to him this year.

"Listen, I wish then all the best. They're going to have their conference, they're going to have a bunch of people speaking there. That's their call," he said at one of his town hall meetings in Montville, New Jersey on Wednesday, according to the Star-Ledger newspaper.

"It's not like I'm lacking for invitations to speak around the country."

The roster of speakers at the March conference reads like a who's who of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates. Among those who have accepted a speaking slot at the high-profile gathering of conservatives is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida; Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky; Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the party's 2012 vice presidential candidate; former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who was a 2012 Republican presidential candidate; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will also speak at the event.

A source close to CPAC told CNN on Monday that Christie was not on the invite list.

The Republican governor drew headlines for appearing with President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy ravaged parts of his state and for praising the federal government's response to the storm.

"When the president does things that deserve praise, I will give him praise," Christie later explained on CNN. "And when the president does things that deserve scorn, I'll give him scorn."

The governor said no officials with CPAC had reached out to him with about an invitation.

"I didn't know that I hadn't been invited to CPAC until like two days ago when I saw it in the news," Christie said at the town hall meeting, according to the Star-Ledger.

Al Cardenas, chairman of CPAC organizers The American Conservative Union, explained his rationale for not inviting Christie in an interview on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

"We want to, one, give you an attaboy if you've been a good conservative. And two, hopefully serve, I say, as an incentive for you to be a conservative," he said. "So I hope Chris Christie gets it done this year. Listen: he's always been a crowd favorite, but you've got to be a conservative on that particular year in order to get invited."

Santorum, a favorite among conservatives during the GOP presidential primary, said on the program, "They invited me; they didn't invite Chris; they have the reasons."

CPAC, which touts itself as the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists, turns 40 this year and will be held March 14-16 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland near Washington.


Filed under: Chris Christie • CPAC
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    "CPAC is like the all-star game for professional athletes; you get invited when you have had an outstanding year,"

    So, an all-star game attended by all the losers of the previous year?

    February 27, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  2. tituswu

    I don't know, but suddenly it almost seems as if Chris Christie is a Dem rather than a Republican.

    February 28, 2013 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  3. bipartiSam

    Translation – Gov Christie will have difficult time winning 2016 Repub Presidential primary but could win general election !!

    February 28, 2013 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  4. Keith

    So according to their own logic, Mitt Romney shouldn't have been invited either. He didn't even win South Carolina in the primaries. And conservatives in general didn't like him. He kind of sucked. It was like 2004 when we democrats had John Kerry. There just was no way we were winning with a guy like that. And CPAC sounds like a bunch of stuffy old idiots who can't get away from the 1950's, not inviting those gay groups like that. But like Christie said, it's their party.

    February 28, 2013 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
1 2