The Washington Times - June 20, 2012, 07:00PM

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will hold an exclusive retreat this weekend for an elite group of his closest supporters and donors with one notable absence: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

The event, billed as the “Romney Victory Founding Members Retreat,” will take place at the Chateaux in Park City, Utah, from Friday to Sunday and include appearances from several potential vice presidential candidates.


But the exclusion of Mr. Rubio is only furthering speculation that the conservative rising star is not on a serious short-list to become Mr. Romney’s running mate, according to a report in the Daily Caller.

Those planning to make appearances include such contenders as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Mr. Romney’s top campaign donors – those who gave $50,000 individually or $150,000 as couples — were invited to attend the three-day event, which will include meetings and penel discussions with such conservative luminaries as Karl Rove, Mary Matalin and the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes.

Other senators and dignitaries on the schedule include Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, former Secretary of State James Baker, former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt. Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman also will be on hand, the DC reports.