- (Photo: REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky)
Speaking with reporters prior to Thursday's kickoff of this year's Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., the event's chairman said that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie "didn't deserve" to attend the highly-anticipated GOP meeting because of certain decisions he made in the past year.
"This year, for better or for worse, we felt like [Christie] didn't deserve to be on the all-star selection, and for decisions that he made," Al Cardenas, conference chairman and head of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, told reporters on Thursday, according to NBC.
"And so hopefully next year he's back on the right track and being a conservative," Cardenas added.
Cardenas went on to say that he believes the GOP party is not "a home for everybody."
"I'm a firm believer that if the Republican Party's going to have success, it's going to do so by being a conservative party and not a home for everybody," Cardenas told reporters.
"And that's how you grow. I mean, look, you grow your tent by convincing others, and persuading others, that yours is the way, and you build your tent by reaching out to the new demographics of America not with a watered down version of who we ought to be but with a true, real, solid version of who we are," Cardenas stated.
Political pundits contend that Christie was probably snubbed from the premiere gathering of Republicans due to his post-Hurricane Sandy praise for President Barack Obama, whom Christie said aptly responded to the natural disaster which wreaked havoc on the east coast, especially New Jersey, in late October 2012.
Another well-known Republican not attending CPAC is Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, whom critics contend did not receive an invite because of his implementation of new taxes due to a recent approval of a new transportation bill.
Still, others argue that not too much interpretation should be applied to who was and was not invited to CPAC 2013.
While both Christie and McDonnell were praised for turning the tide of the Republican image when they entered office in 2010, this year, critics contend that GOP figures such as Florida junior U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Kentucky junior U.S. Senator Rand Paul are considered to be more popular.
"I think there is a sense in which American politics is beginning to resemble, sort of, a reality show. There's a little bit of an 'American Idol' quality to it. And right now, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are arguably the hottest properties in the party," Ralph Reed, head of the conservative Faith & Freedom Coalition, told Politico.
"But I still think Christie and Bob McDonnell are important figures," Reed noted.
This year's CPAC features headliners Rubio and Paul, along with Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, and Paul Ryan, former GOP vice presidential candidate of the 2012 election.
Additionally, Dr. Ben Carson, head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., who gained national attention for his politically incorrect speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, will also be speaking at CPAC.