Politico By KENDRA MARR | 2/7/11
Snubbed. Despite speaking at CPAC 2010, Gary Johnson won’t be taking his turn at the microphone at this year’s conference.
“We did put in a request, but he was not asked to speak,” Ron Nielson, Johnson’s longtime advisor, told POLITICO. “It probably has something to do with his stance on some of the issues. We’re the only one there that is taking the position that he’s taking.”
Specifically Team Johnson has been theorizing that the former governor’s support of legalizing marijuana and gay rights left them out in the cold.
But Grover Norquist, who is on the ACU board and has been lobbying to get Johnson a speaking slot, ruled it out. “It’s just a question of things being full,” he told POLITICO. “There’s no, ‘No we don’t want him.’”
Nevertheless, Our America Initiative has been selling CPAC ticket packages, and will have a booth at the conference.
Plus a number of groups are throwing parties in honor of Johnson. On Thursday seven groups, including Log Cabin Republicans, are hosting a reception at the hotel’s Stones Throw Restaurant. And on Friday, Marijuana Policy Project’s Rob Kampia is hosting the former governor at his home.
“It’s not as if you don’t make it on the CPAC schedule you’re not there,” Norquist said. “You can do your own events.”
But Johnson is holding out hope that he might make it on the schedule. Norquist, along with Kampia, continues to fight to get him in the official lineup.
“I guess we won’t know until the event actually opens,” Nielson said. “Maybe suddenly they’ll call up and say you’re speaking at 4.”