[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/16/art.getty.palin.rally.jpg caption="Alaska's governor and last year's GOP vice presidential nominee will speak briefly at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner in Evansville, Indiana tonight."](CNN) - Sarah Palin will take a break from an increasingly bitter set of standoffs with state legislators Thursday to make her first public comments in the lower 48 states this year. Palin's appearance at a gathering of social conservatives will also increase speculation that she might be interested in running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
Alaska's governor and last year's GOP vice presidential nominee will speak briefly at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner in Evansville, Indiana tonight. She will follow Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who is the keynote speaker at the sold-out event, which is billed as the nation's largest right to life banquet.
Tomorrow morning, Palin is scheduled to attend a breakfast with members of S.M.I.L.E., a non profit support organization for people with family members who have Down Syndrome. Palin's son, Trig, has Down Syndrome.
On Monday, Palin's office blasted Alaska state Democrats for criticizing her decision to leave the state and travel to the speaking appearances during the closing days of the legislative session. The governor has also come under fire from members of her own party for this trip. Palin has opted to skip several major conservative gatherings this year, citing state legislative demands.
Over the past few weeks, public faceoffs with lawmakers over her nominee for state attorney general, her reluctance to request all the stimulus funds available to the state, and a series of her picks to fill a Democratic legislative seat that have all been rejected by members of the party.
Palin's still considered a possible candidate for 2012 Republican presidential nomination. There is no clear frontrunner for the next GOP nomination battle, but in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll of Republicans conducted in February, Palin won the support of 29 percent of those questioned, slightly ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, both 2008 presidential contenders.