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Sarah Palin to be closing speaker at CPAC conference

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Sarah Palin will deliver the keynote address at the 2012 CPAC conference, marking the first time that the former Alaska governor will speak at the annual conservative gathering.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R). (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

CPAC – short for Conservative Political Action Conference – takes place in Washington, D.C., every year, typically in February or March. It’s considered a must-stop for GOP presidential candidates looking to woo conservatives and is a venue where White House hopefuls and others can deliver their message to a national audience.

While the conference can often give a boost to candidates, it has also been the venue for one prominent exit from the Republican primary: It was at CPAC four years ago that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) announced his exit from the GOP presidential race – a move that stunned many of the activists and reporters who were in the room.

Palin is not taking part in the presidential race this time around and said Wednesday night that she has not yet settled on a candidate in the field. But her planned CPAC address – as well as a series of TV appearances in recent days and a Washington Post op-ed last weekend – would suggest that she is keen on being part of the conversation.

Also among those speaking at this year’s CPAC will be former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.).

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