Americans for Prosperity announced Friday that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will be the keynote speaker at the Seventh Annual Defending the American Dream Summit in Orlando on Labor Day weekend.
Cruz is joining a lineup that includes conservative firebrand Michelle Malkin, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc.; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Fox News host Greg Gutfeld and Dr. Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute.
“Sen. Cruz has been an outspoken critic of wasteful government overspending and a leader for creating smarter, efficient government,” Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips wrote in an email to supporters. “Sen. Cruz will bring down the house with his passion for creating a better America.”
Labeling the event “a major Tea Party gathering,” The Hill speculated that Cruz’s appearance “will further fuel speculation about his potential interest in running for president.”
For the first time, the summit is taking place outside of Washington, D.C., at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, as is the 2013 Right Online Conference, which is happening at the same time.
Right Online, a project of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, has built a reputation as the premier conference for liberty-minded bloggers, social media gurus and online activists to network and learn new tactics.
It was launched in 2008 to counter the left-wing Netroots Nation Convention, an annual meeting of what the media has called the most concentrated gathering of high-profile progressive bloggers to date.
The Hill noted an interesting point: Rubio had been previously announced as a speaker at the Defending the American Dream Summit, but was not mentioned in the group’s release announcing Cruz’s participation, though Malkin and the others were.
Having stood behind the immigration reform bill recently passed in the Senate, Rubio is under considerable fire from many in the tea party. How conservative activists receive him Labor Day weekend will be followed closely by the media.