Update 11:53 a.m.
Party officials clarified that the Friday night banquet gala, where Rick Santorum will speak, is a private fundraiser for the party. Other speakers, such as U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, will speak during general sessions of the convention that are open to both party members and spectators.
Texas Republican officials said Tuesday that former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's speech during the state convention next month in Fort Worth will be off-limits to the media.
"There has never been media availability at the state party's premiere banquet," said Chris Elam, the party's communications director.
Elam said party officials are talking to Santorum and other officials about any media availability they would like to have. But when shown a copy of a newspaper article from four years ago that clearly indicated media was allowed into the banquet that featured Mitt Romney, speaking on behalf of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain, GOP officials said they didn't have an answer about that.
"It's not normal," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "It is unusual to act like you are embarrassed by your keynote speaker and therefore don't want media records of his comments.
"This means the Texas Republican Party has concluded ... that it benefits by excluding the media," he said. "The Republican Party is saying they want to avoid any possibility that Santorum says anything that upsets the apple cart and causes a media story that is embarrassing to them."
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