Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said on Fox News that he didn't attend this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) because it had become dominated by libertarians and was far less relevant since the Tea Party movement began, Politico reports.
Confirming at least one part of Huckabee's analysis, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), known for his outspoken libertarian views, carried the CPAC straw poll with 31 percent. Mitt Romney came in second with 22 percent, while Huckabee made only a single-digit showing.
But Huckabee, who has often spoken at the annual conference, said it mattered less than ever this year. "Where CPAC was historically the event, the Tea Parties are having their own events all over the country and a lot more truly grassroots people are getting involved because of the Tea Parties," Huckabee said.
The former governor also criticized CPAC for being an openly commercial event -- a charge some conservatives also leveled against the Tea Party National Convention in Nashville earlier this month. "Because of the way that it solicits sponsors, it's almost becomes a pay-for-play," Huckabee said. "It's kind of like, who will pay money to be able to be a sponsor and get time in the program. That's one of the things that has hurt its credibility in the last couple of years.
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