From YAHOO NEWS:
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will join former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and businessman Herman Cain at a New Hampshire event next month hosted by the tea party-affiliated Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF).
Also invited, but not yet confirmed are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., was invited, but his office “politely reminded us that he’s not running,” said AFPF New Hampshire State Director Corey Lewandowski.
Just as noteworthy are the contenders who didn’t make the cut at all, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a tea party favorite.
“We’re not trying to exclude Michele Bachmann by any stretch of the imagination,” Lewandowski said. “What we did is we looked at the criteria of individuals back in December [when the invitations were sent] who had at least some media coverage as a potential candidate. It’s fair to say that at that point, Michele Bachmann … hadn’t had any serious press about that.”
Who could forget how you couldn’t turn on the television or read a newspaper without seeing Herman Cain?!
The event will also honor Ovide Lamontagne as AFPF’s “Conservative of the Year.” Lamontagne, a tea party favorite in his unsuccessful Senate bid last year, is positioning himself to be a kingmaker in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary. He has opened his home to Santorum and Pawlenty as part of a presidential candidate series. He praised their outreach to the tea party as a smart political move.
While AFPF does not endorse candidates, the group is supported by the billionaire Koch brothers, whose underwriting of the tea party during the 2010 election cycle caused critics to question the movement’s grassroots label.