Conservative commentator and writer Ben Shapiro has been added to the agenda for the California Republican Party convention.
Shapiro, who is the editor-at-large of Breitbart.com, will fill a dinner speaking slot that was originally set to feature GOP strategist Karl Rove. Rove's talk has been moved to the Saturday luncheon because of a scheduling conflict.
Shapiro won praise from the right for a heated exchange with CNN's Piers Morgan, posted above, in which he accused the host of being a bully on gun control and "standing on the graves of the children" killed in the December mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn. elementary schools.
The party had been seeking to book a speaker who would appeal to conservatives in light of a rift caused by Rove's newly announced Conservative Victory Project, a super PAC that has come under fire from Tea Party supporters. Former GOP Senate leader Jim Brulte, who is expected to be elected chairman at next month's convention, told The Bee this week that the party extended an invitation to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, but that a scheduling issue prevented the freshman senator and Tea Party favorite from accepting.
Other speakers at the spring convention, which takes place in Sacramento during the first weekend in March, include conservative comedians Eric Golub and Evan Sayet, author Travis Brown and former GOP Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who moved to Texas to take a job with a think tank after leaving the Legislature.
The Saturday night keynote speech was the subject of some confusion this morning, after an initial email to members identified the guest as Ben Stein. That email, which led with a riff on the actor's role in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," was soon followed by a message clarifying the actual lineup.
"Clearly, somebody other than Ferris Bueller needs a day off. :-)" Chairman Tom Del Beccaro wrote in the second message.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this post misspelled Breitbart.com. The Bee regrets the error.