Sarah Palin Is Likely to Star at Conservative Gathering Next Month

The Alaska governor is "still the darling" of the political right, says a GOP strategist.

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Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is expected to be among Republican insiders speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference next month in Washington. Bill McAllister, her spokesman, says she "has not decided whether to attend," but insiders predict that she will participate in the CPAC gathering to keep herself on the conservative radar as a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2012. "She's still the darling of the conservatives," said a prominent GOP strategist, because she espoused bedrock conservative positions during the 2008 campaign as the vice presidential running mate of Republican John McCain. If she does speak at CPAC, she is expected to get an enthusiastic welcome.

Palin has been back in the news lately, mostly because of her continuing complaints about how she was treated during the campaign. She has criticized the news media, especially Katie Couric of CBS, for supposedly trying to embarrass her, and she wasn't pleased with Tina Fey's impersonation of her on Saturday Night Live. Palin said there was "some, perhaps, exploiting that was done via me, my family, my administration."

And she told a conservative filmmaker that she sees a class bias in how she was treated compared with the media coverage of Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late president who is seeking a Senate seat from New York. "I've been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope also," Palin said. "It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out, and I think that as we watch that, we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be."

Some Republican strategists, however, say she needs to stop revisiting the '08 campaign and focus on governing Alaska. "She has to figure out how to broaden the party and not just appeal to the right wing," says a prominent GOP insider. "And she won't do that solely by attacking the mainstream media for being unfair to her."