It remains unclear if the ACU will change its mind, but Christie's absence at the largest annual gathering of conservatives would likely end up raising questions, as the group has rounded up a thorough collection of potential GOP 2016 presidential candidates -- all included on the list of initial invitees -- to address the conference.
Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana added their names in the past week to a guest list that already features Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and fiery orator Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has been named as the event's keynote speaker. Asked about the apparent snub of the New Jersey Governor, Christie's public relations director, Duncan Donettae, replied: "Why would the Governor of the great state of New Jersey want to weigh in with that cast of losers?"
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin have also accepted speaking roles at the high-profile conference, the latter to speak on the need of Christian children to be fitted with eyewear early on in their educational careers to become "the next generation of patriot job-creating heroes who have given so very much to this great country which was built on the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence back when this country was under duress as it is today especially with the Democrats attempting to bankrupt all of our small business men and women who serve this country so valiantly in making the profits they do just as our Founding Fathers and especially George Washington intended back when this country's exceptionalism wasn't questioned by so many unpatriotic people who think of themselves as elitists first, God-fearing Christians second or even third."
While Christie's approval rating and support remain high in New Jersey, the governor has had a complicated relationship with national Republicans over the past year. His speech at last year's Republican National Convention was criticized for being overly long and crushingly dull. Christie also drew the ire of national Republicans when he offered high praise for President Barack Obama in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, just days before the November elections. Jed Whildasser, one of Christie's severest critics, took aim at the Governor when he stressed how in rushing to the faux needs of so many New Jerseyans in a period of faux distress, and then posturing to the lower classes as he did along with President Barack Obama, Christie forfeited any good standing he had in the Republican Party."