Oh my: Marco Rubio named keynote speaker at CPAC

An easy pick in one sense, a provocative choice in another.

“We chose Rubio because he is an upcoming leader. He is someone that a lot of people are excited about,” De Pasquale told POLITICO. “His name keeps getting brought up and we decided that he would be a good keynote for 2010.”

The keynote speaker gets the coveted 10 a.m. speaking slot that kicks off the conference on Thursday and gets a longer block of time than other CPAC speakers. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) got the slot last year.

Rubio Communications Director Alex Burgos said that “Marco Rubio is honored by the invitation and opportunity. He looks forward to sharing his vision of why mainstream conservative Republicans are needed in Washington more than ever.”

It’s an easy pick because there’s no pol in America aside from Sarahcuda whom the base is more excited about, and he needs this exposure a lot more than she does. It’s essentially a huge, free advertisement for his Senate campaign with all the earned media that goes along with that. And of course it’s a great advertisement for conservatives too: He’s young, charismatic, and a minority, which makes him almost the polar opposite of the standard media caricature of right-wingers. Even so, it’s not often that you find CPAC pitted against the Republican establishment, but given the NRSC’s endorsement of Crist in the primary, that’s exactly what’s happening here. This isn’t as big a victory for tea partiers as a Doug Hoffman win would have been but it’s still big. Especially now that the NY-23 race is history and Crist has assumed the role of tea-party public enemy number one.

Speaking of conservative confabs, who’s going to Ace’s “Hmmmmmmm” extravaganza? I hear through the grapevine that the boss might be interested…