November 5th, 2008
02:44 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain not included on CPAC invite

McCain spoke at last year’s CPAC.

McCain spoke at last year’s CPAC.

(CNN) - Votes are still being counted in some states, but conservatives stinging from last night’s losses are planning to get together to plan the movement’s future — and so far, it doesn’t look like that vision includes John McCain.

McCain, who made a poorly-received appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference last year, was not included on a list of major movement figures invited to next year’s gathering e-mailed to supporters Wednesday morning. More than a dozen conservative leaders made the cut — including McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have also been invited to address CPAC in February, along with McCain’s former primary season rivals Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

“At CPAC 1975, one speech initiated the conservative comeback,” American Conservative Union president David Keene wrote on the invitation to the group’s annual meeting, citing Ronald Reagan’s encouraging words to activists after the “disastrous” post-Watergate election losses of 1974. “CPAC friends, it's imperative that we continue to fight for conservative principles despite recent losses. We face new challenges, but our principles are timeless.”

Last year, McCain faced a thorny reception during a rare appearance at the gathering, as his visit – and even the mention of his name – drew boos from many in attendance.

Romney narrowly beat the Arizona senator, 35 to 34 percent, in the conference’s presidential straw poll of conservative political activists. The result came even though it was clear that McCain, who had addressed the group that week, would be the Republican Party’s nominee — and even though Romney had ended his presidential run there earlier in the conference. The announcement of Romney’s win was greeted by cheers from the crowd, angry over McCain’s past positions on immigration policy.

UPDATE: CPAC Director Lisa De Pasquale said in an e-mail that the list included in the message sent to past CPAC attendees this morning was not complete.

"With the exception of Gov. Palin, who confirmed in early April after having to drop out of CPAC 2008 at the last minute, very few invitations (Jindal and Pence) were sent to elected officials because of the volatility of the November elections," she wrote. "Now that the election has passed, we will begin inviting other elected officials."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. ExRev

    I think its time for Sen McCain to reflect on what has happened. I suspect he will be a valued advisor to the next Republican nominee and his first advice will be to run as far away from the far left wing of his party.
    They did nothing to help him in this election, and in a time when people were looking for moderation and hope, they came out on their own and spread lies and fear.

    John McCain made the fatal error of politics of identifying with what he thought was the "republican core." My guess is that in the next couple of years we will no longer be calling these ultra conservatives as the core of the party. but rather the outer core.

    November 5, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Michelle, PA

    McCain was used, he's got to know it by now, and the CPAC snub is probably actually good for him. Especially if they are cuddling up to Palin – if she is the direction the Republicans decide to take after this election, McCain would be far better served going Independent. I don't wish Palin ill, but I do wish her and the hate mongers in that whole wing of my former party GONE.

    November 5, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Independent In NY

    The election is finally over, and the people of this country have made their choice. Whether you agree with the pick or not:



    November 5, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. doob

    I agree with you Rob. I just hope they invite Joe the Plumber

    November 5, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. tabo01

    I consider myself conservative, on the libertariian wing, and they really
    need to get back to the basics. small government, fiscal responsibility,
    strong defense. I chose Obama because tax and spend is more
    responsible than borrow and spend. Some choice. Raping the environment is not conservative. And try reading what is on the
    Statue of Liberty. If they continue down the lunatic fringe path,
    the beatings will continue. It is not as bad as is seems, as the
    electoral vote was a real beatdown, but popular vote was close.
    If the economic meltdown had happened 3 months later, and it
    was cooking for years, McCain would have won.

    November 5, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Bridgette-PA

    That's just SAD AND MEAN! However, the Republican brand is the party that he loves, remember.

    OBAMA/BIDEN -08!

    November 5, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Joe in Austin

    These are people that do not beleve in democracy

    November 5, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. Abby

    lol to 'A Great Man!' call him what you want but President Elect Obama is the 44th President of the United states of America, you ungracious individual, you...There are plenty of us who will be addressing him as Mr. President Sir! so your r magnanimity and grace isn’t needed by him but you caould have used a bit...

    November 5, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    Sarah Palin was invited but not John McCain? FAIL.

    November 5, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Betty the Beautician

    John McCain got a bad economy, bad advice and a bad choice for VP. I admire the man myself and what he stands for even though I voted for Obama/Biden. Sarah Palin was part of the problem for John McCain.

    If Sarah Palin is their hope in 2012, then the conservative Republicans are in deep trouble. Actually, she is what they stand for which I don't agree with. Need to keep religion out of politics–separation of church and state. What part of our Bill of Rights/Constitution don't they get?

    November 5, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Todd A

    If conservatives think John McCain lost this election because he's 'not conservative enough,' they are delusional. America has moved to the Left, and the far Right - which continues to get farther to the Right all the time - has been left in the dust.

    November 5, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. FactCheck

    What a bunch of fools... apparently, denial is just a river in Egypt to them. They'll loose again and again because their egos prohibit them from looking in the mirror.

    November 5, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. mike

    I'm not sure who I feel worse for, McCain or this lame conservative group. Scratch that, who really cares? McCain bailed on his principles and used conservative smear tactics to try to win. He gets some redemption from last night's speech but now he has lost some of his identity and this is the result. He probably is too good for CPAC and hopefully he will return to the kind of man he once was.

    November 5, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. Ron

    If the CPAC was intelligent, they would invite McCain. Could any other GOP candidate have garnered 47/48% of the popular vote in this election? I don't think so. As well, I think most republican are ready to do away with the neo-cons of Gingrich, Palin, and Cheney to mention a few. I think republicans need to get back to the middle on most issues including immigration because face it. In about 10-15 years, hispanics and minorities are going to be the predominant voting demo... not whites. The GOP needs men like McCain to help them come to the center on these issues. But, if they don't whatever... I am a Dem. and if they want to alienate their party even more. thats fine.

    November 5, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Hopeful for Tomorrow

    If they're taking Palin then CPAC probably isn't a place Sen. McCain wants to be.

    November 5, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Gloria - Minnesota

    I think its a mistake that they have invited Sarah Palin; the worst thing that could happen would be for her to represent ANYTHING in the coming years!!

    I consider myself an Independent, and I proudly voted for the Obama/Biden ticket!!!

    November 5, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. republicans hate america

    Until the GOP stops defining America as pro and anti areas all you will have is just a bunch of bitter meetings on how to make a come back. As much as you want to believe this is a christian nation we the people are giving you the chance to redefine that thought because it is far from it.

    November 5, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. SAB

    What is really disappointing and shameful is that the GOP has already started plotting on what they should do in the next election rather than fulfill their #1 obligation which is "What can I do to make sure we as Americans succeed in the next 4 years". If they do things right in the next 4 years, then they will have a leg to stand on, otherwise we will see another mudslinging competition in 2012.

    November 5, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Rave

    To Unbelievable!
    Your Grandparents must be idiots like you
    Haa Haa Haa.. Hee Hee Hee... Look at yourself you looser

    November 5, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. rob

    Cpac – should feel ashamed of themselves -they really need to go into themselves and learn that being a Christian doesn't mean being divisive
    – if they can't be inclusive of all their is no reason for their being .Their is no future in extremism

    November 5, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Karl

    I hope that we can all come together and grow as Americans. I can see that is not something that the CPAC is interested in. I would hope they would have learned that it is better to bring together than to try to take apart.

    November 5, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. dave from Dayton, OH

    It's interesting that during the entire campaign, the Republicans used the word "liberal" as though it was toxic. Perhaps the Republican party is now having the tables turned on it...maybe the word "conservative" is perceived by the voting public as representing intolerance, wealth, greed, and elitist (yes...elitist), With those ideologies, they'll never attract the African-American or the growing Hispanic populations...those demographics they will need in order to win elections.

    The country appears to going a bit more to the center, and CPAC is hellbent on preserving what may become the great pariah of this nation...conservatives!

    And just like a conservative...they would just as soon discard John McCain instead of looking to broaden their base by being more inclusive.

    November 5, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Ivy, Bixby, OK

    Maybe what the election results from last night tells us is that we're interested in working together to solve problems and that either extreme (liberal or conservative) would do well to adopt a more middle of the road philosophy.
    Mc Cain's loss was due to pandering to the right by making Palin his choice for VP. He lost the independents.
    I hope to see the far right and the far left come meet the 95% of us that are in the middle to effect a real change.

    November 5, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. Mark My Word

    Gov. Bobby Jindal will run in 2012!

    November 5, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. don't be afraid

    mccain is a good man he just got beaten by the better one....

    November 5, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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