Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will not be attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington next week, reports Alex Leary:

The newly-elected lawmaker will be focused on his Senate duties that week then “return to Florida for a working weekend capped off by the Pinellas County Lincoln Day Dinner,” on Feb. 12, spokesman Alex Burgos told the Buzz.

Sen. Jim DeMint’s spokesman said DeMint declined to attend because several conservative organizations — including the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation — pulled out due to the inclusion of a small gay conservative organization, GOProud, at CPAC. Rubio’s spokesman denied GOProud’s status at CPAC was the case with the Florida senator’s decision.

Rubio gave a barnstorming speech last year at CPAC, when he had not yet pulled ahead of Gov. Charlie Crist in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate:

Awkwardly, he is still in the headline image for CPAC:

Luke Johnson reports on Florida for The American Independent.

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