The speaker line-up at CPAC's three-day gathering March 14-16 near Washington includes at least eight potential Republican presidential contenders, including Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, NBC News reported Monday.
Notably absent, though, is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, also a potential 2016 presidential hopeful. Despite being the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention and having a monster approval rating in his state, CPAC officials told NBC News Christie was not invited.
The blunt-speaking governor irked some on the right with his public support for President Obama's handling of Hurricane Sandy in the runup to the 2012 election.
The appearance before CPAC, considered a plum speaking engagement in the conservative movement, will be Romney's first public speech since his loss in November. In a statement, he said he looks "forward to saying thank you to the many friends and supporters who were instrumental in helping" his campaign.
National Rifle Association Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre and President David Keene are confirmed to speak at the event, and an NRA University is scheduled to educate participants about the organization, the Second Amendment and the gun control debate.
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