Report: Rubio to skip CPAC
© Greg Nash

Republican presidential candidate Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio: Kaepernick deserves to be in the NFL Congress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer Anti-Maduro Venezuelans not unlike anti-Castro Cubans of yore MORE plans to skip the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year, Breitbart News reported Tuesday. 

The American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts the event, said in a statement to Breitbart News that Rubio and his campaign have made a "rookie mistake," adding, however, that the Florida senator has a conservative record and high rating from the organization.

"Today the Rubio campaign informed ACU’s chairman that their candidate is unwilling to make time to meet with activists and answer their questions at CPAC 2016," ACU said in the statement.

"Sen. Rubio cannot have it both ways: he cannot hope to be the inspirational leader of conservatives and at the same time hide at the very moments when activists who compose the heart and soul of the movement assemble and organize."

Rubio's spokesman, Alex Conant, said in an email to Breitbart News that "we have not set our March schedule yet," when asked why Rubio was skipping CPAC, which will be held from March 2 to 5 at National Harbor Maryland, near Washington, D.C.

The ACU statement noted that former President Ronald Reagan came to CPAC 13 times. This year's CPAC theme is based on Reagan's first public address after his 1980 election: "Our Time is Now."

"Reagan’s words ring even truer today than when Reagan first said them. If we do not carry the country in 2016 America will be a different nation," the statement to Breitbart said.

"But if conservatives are not central to the effort we will fail before we even begin."

The ACU also told Breitbart that current and former candidates Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRed states find there’s no free pass on Medicaid changes from Trump Trump meets with Moon in crucial moment for Korea summit The Memo: Trump flirts with constitutional crisis MORE, Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas MORE, Ben Carson, Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina "have made CPAC 2016 a priority."

"They honor Reagan’s legacy and they honor the thousands of conservative activists who will spend significant resources to travel to CPAC to learn, be inspired, and eventually vote in our straw poll for the person they want to carry the Reagan torch." 

Rubio finished seventh in last year's CPAC straw poll, with 3.7 percent. He placed second in the CPAC straw poll in 2013, with 23 percent.