- ‘Operation Normandy’ set to send 3,500 volunteers to border to ‘stop an invasion’
- Netanyahu’s spokesman: Safe to fly to Israel
- Oregon vandals smear cars with doughnuts, pastries, chocolate bars
- Obama’s ‘Katrina moment’ leaves his favorability factor at 42 percent
- Feds tout nearly 200 arrests, $625K in seized cash in Texas border crackdown
- Joy Behar: Sarah Palin should be ‘turning letters over on some game show’
- Rhino poacher in South Africa sentenced to 77 years in jail
- John Kerry defies FAA and flies to Israel to talk peace
- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
McCain rejects CPAC invite
Question of the Day
Sen. John McCain is the only major Republican presidential candidate who will not address the nation’s premier gathering of conservatives this year.
Sponsors of the Conservative Political Action Conference, which begins today in Washington and brings together thousands of conservative leaders and grass-roots activists, say the Arizona Republican has “dissed” organizers by attempting to schedule a private reception for attendees after rejecting invitations to speak at the event.
“It was a classical McCain move, dissing us by going behind our backs,” said William J. Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union.
Convening through Saturday at a sold-out Omni Shoreham Hotel, the 34th annual CPAC will feature personal appearances and nationally televised speeches by every Republican presidential hopeful except Mr. McCain, said David A. Keene, chairman of the ACU, which, along with Young America’s Foundation and Human Events, is a principal sponsor of CPAC.
Conservative activists have speculated that Mr. McCain did not want to be seen on television “pandering” to Republican “right-wingers” but wanted to court those same activists at a reception in the same hotel.
“He turned down repeated CPAC offers to speak but then tried to get around us by having his office call the hotel to rent a room for a reception for CPAC attendees — without first seeking approval of CPAC organizers,” said Mr. Lauderback.
By contrast, he said, other Republican presidential aspirants have called ACU to seek permission to hold receptions at the hotel during CPAC. Each of those candidates — including Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — “called us a long time ago to arrange for a hospitality reception he will give for CPAC attendees,” Mr. Lauderback said.
“We would have still allowed McCain to do something at CPAC, but by the time his folks approached the hotel, everything was in concrete and there was no facility available for what he wanted,” Mr. Keene said.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a possible contender who is considered his party’s one-man think tank, and Vice President Dick Cheney, still a crowd favorite for the conservative faithful, will also address the conference.
When an attempt was made to ask why Mr. McCain declined to address CPAC, top campaign advisers John Weaver and Terry Nelson were said to be “unreachable.”
But a spokesman for Mr. McCain — who is running an average of 13 percentage points behind former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in the latest national polls — said the candidate’s conservative credentials are well-known.
“The senator has run, been elected and served as a conservative and looks forward to talking about his conservative record throughout the course of this campaign,” said Brian Jones, communications director for the McCain campaign.
CPAC has been considered a key event for conservative candidates since the Reagan era.
“Reagan attended every CPAC from the first one in 1974 — when he gave his famous ‘City Upon a Hill’ speech — until his last year in office in 1988,” said Craig Shirley, a longtime Republican activist and Reagan historian. “The exceptions were 1976 and 1980, when he was campaigning in New Hampshire for the GOP nomination.”
Mr. Shirley recalled that at “the very first CPAC, Reagan brought as his guest a young, severely wounded Navy pilot who had been a POW in Hanoi: John McCain III.”
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- EDITORIAL: A new witch hunt in Salem
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq