One of the most surprising stories out of CPAC is how many prominent conservatives have criticized aspects of the conference. Right-wing columnist William Kristol downplayed the influence of CPAC attendees, while keynote speaker Glenn Beck served up choice words for the GOP. The latest conservative to join the CPAC-bashing is Mike Huckabee, governor of Arkansas-turned-Fox News correspondent who made headlines with his presidential bid in 2008.

Huckabee ripped the conference, which he chose not to attend because it was "more libertarian and less Republican." He also suggested that CPAC gave the spotlight to the highest bidder. "Because of the way that it solicits sponsors, it's almost becomes a pay-for-play," he sneered. "It's kind of like, who will pay money to be able to be a sponsor and get time in the program."