Sen. Rubio to skip CPAC conference

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is the latest Republican to decline an invitation to next month's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual gathering that typically attracts the nation's most prominent conservative names.

A spokesman for Rubio said the conference isn't on the senator's schedule, telling the St. Petersburg Times that Rubio will be focused on his work in the Senate during CPAC week and will then "return to Florida for a working weekend." 

According to the paper, Rubio's spokesman denied that the senator's decision had anything to do with the controversy over the presence of the gay conservative group GOProud. 

Rubio was featured prominently at last year's event. 

GOProud's status as one of the event's co-sponsors this year has resulted in the withdrawal of a handful of other speakers, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). The Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America are also boycotting CPAC over GOProud's presence.  

Despite the boycott, a slew of rumored GOP presidential hopefuls remain on the list of speakers for next month's conference, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), former Govs. Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).