WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will not be speaking at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, but she has accepted an invitation to speak at a higher profile event that could have implications for the 2012 presidential race.
Palin will speak at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, a major gathering of Republican officials, donors and activists from 14 southern states, organizers announced Thursday.
"I'm looking forward to addressing conservative activists from across the south at the 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference," Palin said in a statement. "This is a great opportunity to listen and speak to those who are helping to set the direction of our party."
A Palin confidante said the governor is not being paid to speak at the event.
Political watchers will be paying close attention, and not just because several potential presidential candidates are expected to attend. The SRLC - "the most prominent Republican event outside of a Republican National Convention," the organization boasts - also conducts a presidential straw poll.
The straw poll has had a mixed record of predicting future electoral success. George W. Bush, who was then governor of Texas, won the poll in 1998, two years before his presidential bid. But former Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist, who never mounted a presidential bid, took first place at the 2006 SRLC.
"We're excited to have Governor Palin join us in New Orleans. She represents the future of the Republican Party and will be a huge draw for conservative activists from across the country," SRLC Director Charlie Davis said in an accompanying statement.
Hmmmm ... will she allow the press in for this one, or is she still practicing how to speak correct English and string coherent thoughts together?
That is, if she doesn't get a better gig somewhere else and cancels ...
Palin = Quitter, Liar, Mooch
She has more charisma than any national leader in history. With her book "Going Roque", an intellectual accomplishment beyond compare, she has proven her policy chops. She has mesmerized the American public with her common sense and folksy charm. She has a very attractive message with a unique ability to draw an adoring crowd and excite the voters. She may not be the favorite of the elites but there is no doubt she is the frontrunner in 2012. Just imagine how good she will look on a postage stamp. America has fallen in love with Sarah.
Hey libs...shut it. This country is and always will be center right. Palin speaks to conservative Democrats and Republicans. It is the Obama liberals that are the wing nut minority. This country has had enough liberal hope and chance for this century. 10% unemployment and 3-4 trillion in debt in the first year...good job. Now shut it and let real conservatives, whether its JFK democrats or Reagan Republicans fix this country.
I pray every day that Palin becomes the GOP nominee. Not just for democrats sake, but for the sake of political comedy.
The idiot speaks to idiots. This is news?
You have the democrats on the run Sarah, don't stop now. They are jumping ship like it is on fire.
Will she stick to a script? Will she be capable of reading a script? Will she understand what she reads?
Sarah the democrats are on the run like bubba gump.
What, not again pop goes the weasel.This thing is one big laxative makes you sick to look at and listen to. Thanks cnn for making me run to the toilet and for pushing this thing down my throat.
Oh wow. I mean, wow. This woman is a dumb as a brick and the Republican party is hanging their hopes on her. I a SOOOO glad she isn't a Democrat. Oh, she couldn't be anyway. Not smart enough.