Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann did speak to the group for a few minutes, winning a standing ovation from the room full of party heavyweights.
Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), who was not scheduled to speak, also addressed the dinner.
RNC officials said they became aware of the candidates’ decision to leave before their scheduled addresses just before the program was scheduled to start. The RNC referred reporters’ questions to the respective campaigns, which did not answer requests for an explanation Tuesday night.