ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Some conservatives who are already upset that this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference will include a right-leaning organization that promotes gay rights grew even more concerned this weekend when Sarah Palin suggested that she, too, supports the group.
“Should conservatives not reach out to others, not participate in events or forums that perhaps arising within those forums are issues that maybe we don’t personally agree with? And I say no,” Palin told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody who asked the former Alaska governor to weigh in on the presence of GOProud, an organization that stands for conservative values and gay rights, at the CPAC conference.
Palin added, “I look at participation in an event like CPAC or any other event along kind of in that same vein as the more information that people have the better.”
Her remarks did not sit well with American Principles Project president Frank Cannon. His group was one of the first to call on supporters to boycott this year’s CPAC conference, one of the largest annual gatherings of conservatives in the country, over GOProud's involvement.
“The concern of conservatives is over the participation of a group whose stated goals run at odds with that of core conservative principles, not over debate over those issues,” said Cannon said in a statement on Monday. “Governor Palin should clarify her comments by letting us know whether in her definition, traditional marriage is a core component of conservatism.”
“Certainly Governor Palin would not be in favor of allowing a socialist group to be a participating organization (i.e. co-sponsor of CPAC) in the name of healthy debate," he added.
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, emphasized in a recent interview with ABC News that “organizations across the spectrum in the conservative movement” will be represented at CPAC, which is expected to draw 10,000 activists to Washington, DC.
For the fourth year in a row, Palin declined an invitation to address the conference. CPAC organizers had hoped to book her in a coveted keynote speaking role this Saturday -- the final day of the three-day event.
In this weekend’s interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Palin said her absence came down to “a matter of time.”
Much like her stance on GOProud, Palin has left her views on the broader question of gay rights open to interpretation.
In January, for example, Palin re-tweeted a post by gay conservative talk radio host Tammy Bruce in which she complained about Republican opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” At the time, Bruce commended Palin for what she thought was an endorsement of the repeal effort.
“I think @SarahPalinUSA RT my tweet is her first comment on DADT, treatment of gays & attempts to marginalize us--thank you Governor,” Bruce wrote on Twitter. But when asked in a subsequent interview on Fox News whether the policy should be repealed, Palin responded: "I don’t think so right now."