Most presidential contenders have no plans to attend Glenn Beck rally

at 01:00 PM ET, 06/15/2011


Glenn Beck is holding a rally in Israel on August 24th. (Alex Wong - GETTY IMAGES)
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, and Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee all say they are not planning to attend an upcoming Glenn Beck rally in Israel, contradicting a report Wednesday morning by an Israeli news organization.

“There have been some inaccuracies regarding the specifics of the event,” a spokesman for the Beck rally said. “No one on the [paper’s] list has been contacted or asked to appear. Senator [Joe] Lieberman has expressed his support and that he might attend, schedule-permitting.”

The August 24th event at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, titled “Restoring Courage,” is a Beck-led follow-up to last year’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington D.C.

A Bachmann spokeswoman left open the possibility that the congresswoman would end up participating, saying only that “she does not have an Israel trip on her schedule.” Huckabee wrote on Twitter that he is not going to the rally but will be in Israel in July. A Gingrich aide also denied any commitment to attend.

Former Godfathers’ pizza CEO Herman Cain and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) both told Beck on Fox News Radio that they would like to attend. They are the only two politicians listed on the event’s Facebook page.

“I’ve been approached by him to go,” Lieberman told the Post today. “Actually, by clergy both Christian and Jewish, and I spoke to Glenn Beck. I’d love to participate. ... He’s very committed to making it non-partisan, non-ideological. It’s just going to be a rally to support Israel and the U.S.- Israel relationship.”

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was a featured guest at Beck’s rally on the National Mall last summer, but she has not made public her plans for this year’s event.

It’s not clear what the political benefit of participating would be for most Republican contenders. The massive 2010 get-together drew tens of thousands of people but was far more religious than political in tone. Although there were many tea party activists in the crowd, attendees were told not to bring signs and speakers were asked not to mention politics.

The rally in Israel will likely be even less political and more faith-oriented. Foreign policy is not the focus.

In announcing the event, Beck wrote on his website, “I invite you to join me in Israel this summer to stand together and show the world what living a life of faith and honor really means.” He made no mention of the United States’ policy towards Israel or Israeli defense, although in his radio show that day, he did condemn a “two-state solution that cuts off Jerusalem.”

 
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