News & Politics

ACU Shames Rubio for 'Rookie Mistake' of Skipping CPAC

(AP Photo/Molly Riley)
The group behind the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has put out a mass email shaming Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio for his decision to skip the conference this year, calling it a “rookie mistake.”
The American Conservative Union (ACU) claims that, according to the Rubio campaign, “their candidate is unwilling to make time to meet with activists and answer their questions at CPAC 2016.” Here is their statement in full:

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.

Meanwhile, the Rubio camp contends that they have merely not been able to commit to a specific time yet. A Rubio campaign aide told The Daily Caller that it’s still possible that the senator will attend CPAC, saying: “Our March schedule is still TBD.”
As CPAC is March 3 — just a little over a week away — it does appear that the Rubio camp is dragging their feet on this. But that is a far cry from being “unwilling to make time to meet with activists and answer their questions at CPAC 2016.”
Red State’s Leon Wolf has the email chain between the ACU’s Matt Schlapp to a Rubio campaign aide that shows how it all went down.