New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will address a large gathering of conservatives in President Obama's home town six weeks from today, Townhall has learned. The popular, no-nonsense Republican -- who has conspicuously demurred on previous invitations to speak at the American Conservative Union's annual conference in Washington, DC -- has decided to make his CPAC debut at a regional conference in greater Chicago, just as the 2012 general election season heats up (via ACU):
The American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman Al Cardenas today announced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will address CPAC Chicago – the first in a series of regional Conservative Political Action Conferences slated for 2012 ... CPAC Chicago will be held just minutes from O'Hare International Airport at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, on June 8, 2012.
Organizers say CPAC Chicago will condense the traditional three-day conference into a single day affair -- and that its symbolic location is no accident. Christie joins a growing list of confirmed speakers for the June 8th event, which will feature numerous heavy hitters within the conservative movement and Republican Party. With several other Vice Presidential short-listers like Gov. Bobby Jindal already on the rundown, and given its provocative setting in the president's backyard, the confab is likely to attract significant national media attention. Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Paul Ryan are among the invited speakers. ACU officials are downplaying the 'Veepstakes' showcase angle, simply adding that other big names could still be added to the program. They say they're focused on collaborating with regional partners Right Nation and the Heartland Institute to put on an event that spotlights President Obama's failed record, offers constructive conservative solutions, and energizes Midwestern conservatives heading into the fall. The still-developing agenda reads less like the broad clearing-house for conservative thought that regular DC attendees have grown accustomed to, and more like an intensive election-centered crash course. Further details and tickets for the conference are available here.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
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