Callista Gingrich is preparing to take a more active role in her husband’s presidential campaign, starting with a speech introducing him at today’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, the Gingrich campaign said Friday.

With his wife, Callista, Republican presidential candidate and former House speaker Newt Gingrich speaks after touring the Jergens manufacturing facility in Cleveland. (By Amy Sancetta/Associated Press)

Her speech in front of thousands at CPAC, then, will be a pretty significant entree for a heretofore quiet spouse.

Despite her limited role thus far, the campaign thinks she is a strong campaigner who can connect with voters on a personal basis.

Gingrich’s opponents — particularly Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum — have often put their spouses and families out front, and Ann Romney regularly introduces her husband at campaign events.

Indeed, trotting out family has become a regular part of the campaign these days, be it Santorum’s immediate family standing behind him at his CPAC speech today, Romney introducing his sons and grandkids are campaign rallies, or Gingrich joking that his two grandchildren are his “debate coaches.”

Callista Gingrich, though, has often been lampooned in the press and by late-night comedians for looking the part of a Stepford Wife — in much the same way as Cindy McCain was lampooned during the 2008 campaign.

But with a more public role, the Gingrich campaign hopes to change that and turn her into an asset.