Friday, 04 February 2011

Palin Declines Request to Serve as CPAC Keynote Speaker

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For the third year in a row, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin declined an invitation to serve as the keynote speaker at the high-profile Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, set to take place next week. This year's excuse is that the conference conflicts with her schedule.

February is our busiest winter month and with all the prior obligations and outside travel already scheduled for the month, I had to forgo some of the opportunities in the Lower 48, responded Palin.

On the other hand, Palin did accept a similar opportunity in New Orleans in April, to address the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC). Before the event, she observed, Im looking forward to addressing conservative activists from across the south at the 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference. This is a great opportunity to listen and speak to those who are helping to set the direction of our party.

According to The Blaze:

Palins continuing absence from CPAC has stirred up rumors that the one-time vice presidential hopeful does not want to be affiliated with the conference and its primary organizer, the American Conservative Union (ACU).

At the center of Palins decision may be the role of David Keene, head of the ACU. According to Politico, Keene asked FedEx for $2-3 million last fall to gain the groups support in a legislative battle with business rival UPS. At the time, a Palin spokeswoman responded to the move by simply affirming Palins support for "those who advance our core beliefs and lead by principle."

While Keene has not directly responded to the accusations, he has characterized ACUs relationship with Palin and her staff in the past as "very cordial and respectful."

Despite Keenes assertions, he has been a well-known and vocal critic of Palin in the past, having accused her of whining about negative press coverage and concluding that, overall, Palin was not ready to be a prime candidate. He has observed,

Conservatives like her, but youve got to have more than that. Youve got to be more than a rock star. If in fact shes interested in the presidency, she has got to establish herself as someone you can envision in the Oval Office. And its become more difficult to envision than it was at the time of the election.

Likewise, Palins aide has criticized Keene and CPAC for putting special interests over core beliefs and pocketbook over policy, adding, Thats not what CPAC should be about and people are tiring. Palin is taking a stance against this just as she did in Alaska.

Being invited to be the keynote at CPAC is certainly an honor. In the past, CPAC keynote addresses have been delivered by conservative radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Other potential candidates for this years keynote address include former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Senator Rick Santorum, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Senator John Thune, and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Other well-known conservatives will be skipping out on CPAC this year, including Senators Jim DeMint and Marco Rubio.

However, the three-day action-packed event should prove to be quite exciting, with speakers like Florida Representative Allen West, South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem, Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky, Representative Steve King of Iowa, and many more.

Likewise, a number of reputable organizations include The John Birch Society, Americans for Prosperity, and the Campaign for Liberty.

Additionally, an array of writers will be present for book signings, including Newt Gingrich, Kenneth Timmerman, and Ralph Reed.

Former Bush administration Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is set to be the controversial recipient of the Defender of the Constitution Award from the ACU as well.

Those interested in attending the conference should visit www.cpac.org for further details.

Photo of Sarah Palin: AP Images

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