#CPAC2013: ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ Response to New Venue

Attendees at the 40th Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) have been pleased by the events move to the Gaylord Resort Hotel and Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Gregg Keller, executive director of the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual event that some have called a “Mardi Gras of the Right.”

CPAC had previously been in northwest Washington, D.C., at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel and, before that, at the nearby Omni Shoreham Hotel, but this year the event moved to National Harbor, 10 miles down the Potomac River from downtown D.C., and across the river from Alexandria, Virginia.

The primary reason for the re-location, Keller said Friday at a briefing hosted by the National Bloggers Club, was that CPAC had grown so large that there was not enough room in the main ballroom of any D.C. hotel to host the thousands who want to attend major speeches. Having a venue with a larger seating capacity, Keller said, means “a thousand less pissed-off people who can’t get in to see Sarah Palin.”

In response to a question about why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was not a speaker at this year’s CPAC — an omission that has been the subject of much mainstream media coverage — Keller emphasized that Christie has spoken previously at the conference, but added: “A main stage speech at CPAC is not a right, it’s a privilege.”

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