New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) on Wednesday sought to downplay the significance of his recent rejection by organizers of the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference.
"I didn't know that I hadn't been invited to CPAC until like two days ago when I saw it in the news," Christie said in response to a question at a town hall meeting, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. "Listen, I wish them all the best. They're going to have their conference, they're going to have a bunch of people speaking there. That's their call ... It's not like I'm lacking for invitations to speak around the country."
On Monday, organizers of the event at the American Conservative Union said Christie had not been extended an invitation to the largest annual gathering of conservatives, which is set to be held in the Washington, D.C., area in March.
Christie claimed that his time would be better spent governing his state, which is still continuing to recover from devastation left after Hurricane Sandy.
"I can't sweat the small stuff," he said, according to the Star-Ledger. "I've got a state to rebuild."
As The Huffington Post's Sabrina Siddiqui reported earlier, there were multiple reports about why the American Conservative Union had decided to snub Christie:
[Christie] was not extended an invitation to address this year's Conservative Political Action Conference because his position on gun control leaves him with a "limited future" in the Republican Party, a "CPAC insider" told The National Review Tuesday. But Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, said instead it was Christie's advocacy on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill, and more broadly what he saw as his less-than-conservative record, that led him not to be invited to the annual meeting.
“We felt that the governor’s tone and attitude regarding this relief bill, which was really a pork bill, did not justify an invitation to the conservative conference and we took a pass this year,” Cardenas said.
Cardenas later noted that Christie had been invited to CPAC in the past, but that his record over the past year had left him unqualified for the annual conservative "all-star game."
The ACU's decision not to elevate Christie to "all-star" status is particularly notable considering the other speakers who have confirmed their attendance at the event.
The other speakers include 2016 GOP presidential prospects such as Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has been named as the event's keynote speaker. Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin have also accepted speaking roles at the high-profile conference.