Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will not be attending CPAC, citing “governing duties.” Both chambers of the state legislature will be in session that week.
“As we’ve been telling the media since November, Gov. Palin never committed to CPAC, so the term ‘pull out’ might be misleading,” said William McAllister, Palin’s spokesman.
A contributor to Marc Ambinder’s blog suggested there was a political motive for Palin’s inability to appear in person:
With continual attention from August to January, Palin courted overexposure, but looks to be avoiding it this month. She’s facing criticism in her own state for paying too much attention to her national image, and she wants to rectify that.
Palin did not appear in public solidarity with her party’s congressional leadership during the stimulus fight, but had a behind-the-scenes dinner with Sen. Mitch McConnell. Palin’s only reaction to the stimulus was a short statement last week saying she supported Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young’s votes against the bill.
Palin doesn’t need CPAC: conservatives largely support her and there will be three more conferences before the Republican nomination is decided. John McCain was absent from recent conferences and won the nomination anyway. Palin has seemingly decided she needs a lower profile and doesn’t need to mix it up with Obama during his honeymoon.
McAllister said that “commenting on the political speculation is not part of our role here in the governor’s communications office,” but did note that “her statements on the stimulus package were much more expansive than that description.”
Indeed, Palin issued at least three statements, released two letters to the state’s congressional delegation setting out stimulus priorities, and discussed the potential use of stimulus funds in her State of the State Address.
Palin’s most recent trip to Washington, to attend the Alfalfa Club Dinner on January 31, occurred during a weekend. She held no press events during that trip.