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. Mike S.

    To Unbelievable!,

    Believe it.

    November 5, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. I can see CHANGE from my house

    It's ok McCain, that's a GOOD thing. It's time for you to detox anyway.

    November 5, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. Pita Morin

    It is so sad that this day and age – we have this conservative political group that promotes racism, elitism, and that only if you are white and right wing religious – can you participate in their group. This sounds like a professional KKK organization. The members of this group need to open their eyes and hearts to what Americans are saying today.

    November 5, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Ben Davis

    I can't begin to convey how disappointed I am in John McCain, not because he lost but because he compromised in an attempt to win.

    Personally I support Obama because I think he brings change-velocity to the table but McCain was a good man with good values who tried to pander to an ignorant former-majority that really only cares that their president prays to Jesus and is against abortion (oh, and will let them carry guns) simply because he believed that he couldn't win without them.

    I understand the religious/right point of view but when you won't elect a president because he doesn't agree that Dinosaurs and humans lived together its hard to have respect for his/her administration on secular issues. Thank God it appears those dark days are past.

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

    Were the GOP heads even paying attention last night?

    Palin was a big reason independents like me didn't vote for McCain.

    But hey, if the GOP feels they don't need independents to win elections, they can feel free to roll the dice.

    November 5, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Stacey

    They are still mad at McCain even though Sarah was the drag on the ticket.

    November 5, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. lana

    I see the people saying they will never say 'President Obama'? I don't remember people being this downright UGLY when Bush won. I understand disapointment, sure. You have the right. But give it a rest. Quit walking around 'sucking lemons' as my grandmother would say. By the way, my grandmother ....she was a sharecropper in South Carolina. We cried together last night. We should all be proud...

    November 5, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Matt

    Apparently, the GOP learned nothing about working towards unity from this election race. They are probably doing him a favor, particularly if they plan to turn Palin into significant leader in their party. If they do that, they are waaaaaaay dumber than we thought. If anything, the invites should be reversed. As much as McCain's campaign went off the rails, he's the smarter of the two.

    November 5, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. Faith, hope and charity

    Sen. McCain's concession speech was the best I heard from him during the campaign.

    November 5, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. John

    The inclusion of Sarah Palin into the meeting automatically tells me that they will have to buy more crayons and flashcards. Given the list of attendees it certainly seems the group could more appropriately be labeled the "CELG – Conservative Ego-maniacal Losers Group". How can such a vicious, regressive, anti-intellectual group possibly discuss anything useful. I truly hope the Republicans put Sarah on the ticket in 2012, it will make for a cakewalk for the Democrats.

    November 5, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Greg

    I voted for McCain not because he was terribly appealing, but because I disagree with Obama's feelings on redistribution of wealth. As conservatives we must stop pandering to the left. Do you think liberals care what we think about them? Why should we care what they think about us? Fact: With the economy in the crapper, an unpopular war, an unpopular president, and the media in the bag for PE Oboma, there were still 47% of Americans that voted for McCain. This is not a landslide it is moderates and independants seeing two candidates hawking change and selecting the one that is actually a change. What would have happened if McCain campaigned for a return to "conservative roots". And by that, I don't mean the ultra right conservative Christians. They are as out of touch with mainstream America as the enviromental terrorist are.

    That being said, God Bless America, and God Bless PE Obama, he's gonna need it.

    November 5, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Mike

    Some of you are a joke. Sarah Palin is the only reason that McCain was as close as he was. She is the force in the conservative movement. You liberals are scared to death of her and are determined to destroy her because you know that she is a threat in 2012. Keep trying to blame the loss on her. Smart people know better!

    November 5, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. fanatic

    All of you that think Obama is the savior of us all.... You are insane to think that he is going to be able to get what he wants done.... He got elected by empty promises and a socialist agenda which in my opinion could end the American dream..All I can say it is both parties fault the country has been run into the ground not just the GOP... yea Bush has done a horrible job but.... the financial problems are not just the GOP's the Dems have had control of Congress for how long? So you can't just blame the GOP its both.... I am an American and I do not favor one party or another... Welcome back to reality someone had to say it...

    November 5, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Kiah G.

    Typical Republicans...they don't even like they're own.

    November 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Ian

    Nice to see that they've invited Ron Paul. I liked how he pointed out that if we support Israel, we probably shouldn't be turning around and selling weapons to their enemies. Hopefully they address unintended consequences and blowback.

    It will be interesting to see what role Palin plays, now that the GOP isn't trying to force her to a script. Maybe she'll be even worse, LOL!

    November 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. william

    Sarah Palin 2012

    Sarah did a outstanding job, look on how she was so hated by the other side. Its all there, She has the potential to become the Ronald Reagan in the after math of Obama (the next Carter). She needs to become intrenched into the conservative ideals. Socialism has been tired every where and failed. Capitalism and conservative values are what build nations. Obama will become the Prince John/Jimmy Carter of our times. Don't feel defeated Sarah, this is what is needed to bring real change to America, Obama will remind everyone that in four years of increased taxes, 8 million Jobs lost with >17% interest rates, limited credit and a failed foriegn policy. The real Robin hood will be Sarah Palin, taking from the tax collectors and giving it back to the people (which she has already done in Alaska by in tax refunds)

    November 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Noah

    Rachael- The country is not left. It is not even center-left. it is still center-right. America electing Obama does not signal a move to the Left. In fact, Obama made his campaign more moderate and more right in order to win this election. He talked about wanting less abortions, lowering taxes, maintaining the 2nd amendment and gun rights, staying in Iraq for 2 more years, moving into Pakistan if the terrorists are within our sight, pro- military, etc. It was the only way he could be elected. America never would have elected him if he had stuck to his real, far left radical views. So it just proves America is still center-right

    November 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Enitan

    CPAC is a loosing organization and the Republian party deserve loosing, i am an ndependent registered voter and your party has lost it way when it shove George Bush down our throat.

    Only whites and the rich matters. Its out of touch,out of idea and hopefully out of business.No more brainwashing scared tactic.

    Rush Limbach the dope head is a disgraced to your party.

    November 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. CRAIG



    November 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. JJ

    Wow less than 24 hours, they have already thrown McCain under the bus. Now that is sad.

    November 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Fary from ATL

    MCain, If I were you, I would devote my time on other things non-political like endorsing different brands of prune or Bran cereals..or volunteering at old folk's homes... wayy betterthan hanging out with the likes of Joe the plumber and "just Sarah from Wasillah"!

    November 5, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Voter

    The far right continues with an "us vs them" agenda

    It's the UNITED States of America... meaning mixed people come together.

    November 5, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. don

    Folks...let's not trash McCain...he was by far the more suitable candidate to lead a country that is squarly in the sights of those who would destroy her. And make no mistake, these people do not want to destroy America because of her policies, foreign or domestic. These destroyers want to eradicate Western thought and values because they covet these very things.

    As Americans, let's not forget to pat ourselves on the back either. We've come a long way since breaking from England...we've proved to a doubting world that democracy does work. This victory is spitting in the eyes of those who doubt the power of people...Vive le Democracy!!

    November 5, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. PhilT

    Maybe John will reach across the aisle and stay.
    He could always join up with the "rebel" forces. Maybe we can trade him for Lieberman.

    One more senate vote.

    November 5, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. lisa m

    Someone needs to explain to these "conservatives" what the word means.

    November 5, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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