Sarah Palin

In step with the title of her No. 1 best-seller “Going Rogue,” former GOP vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin is skipping the traditional summit for conservatives this year, the Conservative Political Action Conference, while planning to speak at a tea party event.

Palin was not in attendance at the 2009 CPAC and now is not expected at the 2010 meetings in the nation’s capital, Feb. 18-20. She initially was listed on the CPAC website as an invited guest.

According to a Politico report, a source said Palin does not want to be affiliated with David Keene, the head of the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC.

Keene recently was in the news for accepting a sponsorship for the conference from GOProud, a homosexual activist group.

Politico explained an additional controversy came up over reports Keene asked FedEx for a donation “to get the group’s support in a bitter legislative battle with rival UPS.”

The report said a Palin camp source explained Keene’s actions led to her decision to stay away from the coming CPAC event, “calling it a forum that will place ‘special interests over core beliefs’ and ‘pocketbook over policy.'”

“That’s not what CPAC should be about, and people are tiring,” the source told Politico. “Palin is taking a stance against this just as she did in Alaska.”

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In the report, Keene said the group’s relationship with the Palin staff “has always been very cordial and respectful. Gov. Palin has our admiration and we are disappointed that she will not be able to attend CPAC this year, but hope she will attend in the future.”

Meanwhile, Palin is planning to speak at an event Feb. 4-6 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., organized by the Tea Party Nation.

Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips, named one of Tennessee’s top 25 political players in 2009, was one of the original tea-party organizers in last February following CNBC anchor Rick Santelli’s now famous outburst from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He has helped organize numerous tea parties and mobilized Tennessee taxpayers in the last year with rallies reaching crowds of more than 10,000.

WND founder Joseph Farah

Palin has been confirmed as a speaker at the events, as has WND founder Joseph Farah.

“To say we are thrilled Joseph Farah is speaking is an understatement,” Phillips told WND. “He was a tea partier before there was a tea party movement. We’re excited that he will be speaking because a major goal of this convention is to inspire people. Joseph is a tremendously inspirational person and speaker, and he will really fire people up and get them excited about going back to their home states and cities and taking this advocacy to the next level.”

The event also will feature Rep Michele Bachmann, R- Minn.; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; WND columnist Judge Roy Moore; Phil Valentine, popular radio talk-show host and author of “The Conservative Handbook“; and Fox News Political Analyst Angela McGlowan.

The Tea Party Express will arrive in Nashville for the convention. Additional sponsors of the conference include American Liberty Alliance, Tea Party Emporium, the Leadership Institute, National Taxpayers Union, American Majority, Surge USA and Eagle Forum.

Phillips outlined three main goals of the national convention:

1. Organizers plan to equip attendees with information, effective tools and techniques they can bring back to their groups.

2. The convention will help tea party leaders from across the nation network and make connections with people in the movement.

3. The event is intended to provide some unity within the tea party movement so leaders may work together toward a common goal.

“Tea Party Nation doesn’t claim to be the leader of the tea party movement; we’re just a part of the movement,” Phillips said. “We’ve got to work together in 2010 because if we want to beat Obama, Pelosi and Reid this year, we cannot be divided. That’s the biggest thing I want to see come out of this convention – folks getting to know one another and working together, as opposed to some of the regrettable splits we’ve seen over the last few months.”

Palin also had a run-in with CPAC last year. She already had been announced as a speaker then when she later said she would not come, explaining her staff never confirmed the appearance.

In addition to the tea party event, Palin also has accepted an opportunity to speak to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans in April.

The CPAC website lists other planned speakers, including Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

Palin continues to step outside the boundaries to which political personalities normally are bound. The New York Times reported today she has signed a multi-year deal to become a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel.

The report said a source familiar with the deal said Palin will not have her own program but will act as hostess for an occasional series.


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