Boehner, McConnell to skip CPAC, Underscoring Tensions Between GOP Leadership, Grass Roots

The Conservative Political Action Conference is the biggest annual gathering of Republican leaders and conservative activists, but neither Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor House Speaker John A. Boehner is scheduled to make the 10-mile drive from Capitol Hill to speak to CPAC this year, underscoring the lingering tensions between Republican Washington leadership and the party’s grass roots.

It marks the first time in years that Mr. McConnell will skip the CPAC gathering, a year after the Kentucky Republican made headlines by holding aloft a gun during his speech. Mr. Boehner last spoke at CPAC in 2010, months before the tea party helped fuel Republicans’ takeover of the House and made the Ohio Republican the speaker.

Both have tussled with their right flank over how best to advance a conservative agenda at the Capitol.

“CPAC 2015 is all about the 2016 Republican presidential field, and Boehner and McConnell don’t figure into that equation,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican Party strategist. “While they are not exactly crowd favorites at CPAC, their time is better served at the Capitol working to prevent a government shutdown.

Read more from Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times

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