None of the major 2012 GOP presidential candidates currently plan to attend an August rally in Israel being held by conservative firebrand and outgoing Fox news host Glenn Beck.
Contradicting a Wednesday morning report by an Israeli news organization, prominent GOP presidential contenders Mitt Romney, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) have not been invited to the Beck rally, according to a Beck spokesman. Nor has fellow Fox news host and 2008 presidential contender Mike Huckabee.
“There have been some inaccuracies regarding the specifics of the event,” a spokesman for the Beck rally said Wednesday. “No one on the [Web site’s] list has been contacted or asked to appear. Senator [Joe] Lieberman has expressed his support and that he might attend, schedule permitting.”
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), a former Democratic vice presidential contender, signaled he might show up. And former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, a long shot in the 2012 nomination fight to face President Obama, said he would like to attend. Lieberman and Cain are the only two politicians listed on the event’s Facebook page.
“I’ve been approached by [Beck] to go,” Lieberman said in an interview Wednesday. “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 nonpartisan, non-ideological. It’s just going to be a rally to support Israel and the U.S.- Israel relationship.”
The pro-Israel rally, the details of which are vague, is dubbed “Restoring Courage” and is slated for Aug. 24 at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. It is a follow-up to last year’s massive Beck-led “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, which drew tens of thousands of people and was more religious than political in tone.
But despite Beck’s clout with conservative voters, none of the declared GOP presidential candidates plan to attend, though they have not yet actually been invited.
A spokeswoman for Bachmann, who formally launched her 2012 presidential bid at Monday’s GOP debate, said she “does not have an Israel trip on her schedule.”
Meanwhile, Huckabee wrote on Twitter that he is not going to the rally, despite possible plans to be in Israel in July. A Gingrich aide also denied any commitment to attend.
There was no word on the plans of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who is still weighing a 2012 presidential bid. Palin was a featured guest at Beck’s rally on the Mall last summer.
In announcing the event, Beck wrote on his Web site, “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 U.S. policy toward Israel.