This year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will feature speeches from an array of potential Republican presidential candidates — but the party's congressional leaders, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, plan to skip the event, citing workload and scheduling conflicts, The Washington Times
Some analysts see their absence as signaling tensions between the two GOP leaders and some grass-roots conservatives.
Last year, McConnell sought to burnish his conservative credentials
in advance of a tough re-election campaign by appearing on stage at CPAC holding a rifle. Boehner last addressed CPAC in 2010 after tea party activists helped to galvanize the Republican takeover of the House, the Times reported.
A Boehner spokesman told the Times that the speaker's responsibilities would not allow him to take part in this year's conclave. He added that Boehner's good relationship with the American Conservative Union had not changed.
"Neither of them are running for anything," said American Conservative Union board member Grover Norquist, noting that the 2016 presidential race would be a main focus of this year's conference.
Among the possible presidential contenders who will be at the gathering are Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Also expected are Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
There will be speeches, too, from former Govs. Jeb Bush of Florida and Rick Perry of Texas, as well as Dr. Ben Carson and ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin of Alaska and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are also slated to appear.
Also attending are Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, and Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming.
Other speakers will include Fox News host Sean Hannity, conservative radio personalities Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, and Brent Bozell, Media Research Center president. The Andrew Breitbart award
will be presented to "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson, according to the Times.
The event runs Wednesday through Saturday
just outside Washington, D.C., at Maryland's Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.