2012 GOP hopefuls skip Hispanic Leadership Conference
Politico reports that a number of presumed 2012 GOP hopefuls are not attending an inaugural conference by a new group of Hispanic Republicans that co-chair Jeb Bush termed “an exciting new opportunity to engage with an important and fast-growing community”:
Yet, when former Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Norm Coleman and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez open the first Hispanic Leadership Network conference next month in Miami, the only potential presidential candidate confirmed to attend — so far — is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney declined the invite. So did South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Texas Gov Rick Perry.
Newt Gingrich is “amenable” to attending but hasn’t committed yet, his spokesman said.
And others in the group, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, didn’t respond to inquiries from POLITICO.
The conference is hosted by the American Action Network, a 501(c)(4) “action tank” led by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman that was one of the top outside-money groups this past election cycle. It will take place in Coral Gables on Jan. 13 and 14, 2011.
Gov.-elect Rick Scott is attending; however, the conference schedule shows that his speech is “closed press.” Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who retired in 2010, is also attending.
Sen.-elect Marco Rubio, who is poised to become a top Republican and frequently invoked his parents’ story of fleeing from Castro’s Cuba to settle in the U.S., also isn’t on the agenda. I’ve emailed his spokesman regarding his plans.
Luke Johnson reports on Florida for The American Independent.