The Club for Growth, a conservative group, has invited a gaggle of potential Republican presidential candidates to speak at the organization's winter conference beginning Thursday at the Breakers hotel in West Palm Beach. Slated to appear are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, as well as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Not invited: Florida reporters.
Asked by the Miami Herald for a media credential last week, Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller responded: "Media coverage is by invitation only."
We reporters often gripe about access to public events. But these are politicians flirting with running for the world's most powerful position, so trying to keep what they say to a few hand-picked news organizations is hardly transparent. The Club for Growth appears to be more keen on controlling coverage than on reaching the widest possible audience with their -- and the potential candidates' -- conservative message.
The approach stands in contrast to numerous other events attended by would-be candidates. For example, the Conservative Political Action Conference, taking place this week in Maryland with many of the same GOP hopefuls, had open media registration and allows news outlets to live stream, upload and archive video of speakers' remarks.