National Review, on February 26, explains why Gov. Chris Christie will not be at next month's Conservative Political Action Conference:
Christie has a “limited future” in the national Republican party given his position on gun control, the source tells National Review Online. As a result, the CPAC insider says, the focus of this year’s conference, “the future of conservatism,” made Christie a bad fit.
My inbox, February 20:
The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced former GOP presidential candidate and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will address CPAC 2013—the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference. America’s largest gathering of conservative leaders and activists will be held Thursday, March 14 – Saturday, March 16, 2013.
“The thousands gathered at CPAC this year are eager to hear from the 2012 GOP presidential candidate at his first public appearance since the elections,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. “We look forward to hearing Governor Romney’s comments on the current state of affairs in America and the world, and his perspective on the future of the conservative movement."
There's absolutely zero downside here for Christie. Either he was going to be barred from CPAC, or he would have shown up and gotten boos—any amount of boos is enough to lead a story—or he would have delivered a rapturously received anti-Obama speech that cut into his new bipartisan support at home. (Christie's up for re-election in nine months.)
But I don't know what definiton of "Republican future" includes Mitt Romney and not Chris Christie.