The American Conservative Union (ACU) called out Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for not accepting their invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) next week, calling his decision a “rookie mistake:”
Although, Marco Rubio has built a conservative record and has a high ACU rating, he and his campaign have made a rookie mistake. Today the Rubio campaign informed ACU’s chairman that their candidate is unwilling to make time to meet with activists and answer their questions at CPAC 2016. Sen. Rubio cannot have it both ways: he cannot hope to be the inspirational leader of conservatives and at the same time hide at the very moments when activists who comprise the heart and soul of the movement assemble and organize. For 43 years CPAC has been that critical moment, and this year’s conference will be the biggest yet.
Ronald Reagan came to CPAC 13 times; he launched his national political career from CPAC and our theme this year comes from President Reagan’s first public address after his 1980 election. That theme is ‘Our Time is Now.’ Reagan’s words ring even truer today than when Reagan first said them. If we do not carry the country in 2016, America will be a different nation. But if conservatives are not central to the effort, we will fail before we even begin.
We also appreciate those candidates and former candidates who have made CPAC 2016 a priority: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina (our former Foundation Chair.) They honor Reagan’s legacy and they honor the thousands of conservative activists who will spend significant resources to travel to CPAC to learn, be inspired, and eventually vote in our straw poll for the person they want to carry the Reagan torch.
The Rubio campaign is denying that they have rejected the invitation, saying that they have been unable to find time in his schedule to speak, but that could still change.
It’s hard to imagine that Rubio won’t find time to address the largest conservative conference in the country. Unless he severely under-performs in next week’s Super Tuesday primaries, he will very likely try at that point to belatedly accept the invitation to speak at CPAC.
Photo by Michael Vadon