Palin to appear at Calif. gala after resignation

McCain: confident governor will remain on the national scene

Posted: Monday, July 13, 2009

LOS ANGELES - Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is slated to appear at a Republican gala in suburban Los Angeles next month as she moves to broaden her national influence after stepping down as Alaska governor.

John Wagner / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
John Wagner / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Republican Women Federated of Simi Valley said in a statement Sunday that Palin is scheduled to attend the group's 50th anniversary gala at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Aug. 8.

The disclosure came on the same day that an interview published in The Washington Times revealed that Palin plans to write a book, build a right-of-center coalition and campaign for political candidates from coast to coast - even Democrats who share her views on limited government, national defense and energy independence.

The details were the first to emerge since the Alaska governor announced earlier this month that she plans to resign July 26, a decision that shocked even her closest friends.

Republican Women Federated spokeswoman Pat Saraceno said the invitation-only gala is closed to the media. Several hundred people are expected. The master of ceremonies for the event will be conservative radio talk-show host and filmmaker John Ziegler.

Reagan library spokeswoman Melissa Giller said the event will be held in a cavernous pavilion that houses the customized Boeing 707 jet Reagan used as president. The hilltop library is located about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Saraceno said Palin "embodies the values that we hold dear: faith, family, country first and service."

"We are honored to call her our friend and advocate," she said. "She is an amazing human being whose aspirations are simply to bring out the best in people."

The Alaska governor's office did not respond to e-mail or phone messages.

The appearance at the library that enshrines the legacy of the nation's 40th president is certain to stoke speculation about Palin's political ambitions beyond Alaska.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who led the 2008 Republican presidential ticket, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that he is confident Palin will remain "a major factor" on the national scene even after she steps down as governor.

Earlier this year, Palin was offered a speaking role at an annual congressional fundraiser in Washington, which turned into a will-she-or-won't-she mystery about whether the Alaska governor would even appear. Organizers replaced Palin as the keynote speaker after she wavered over accepting the invitation, and Palin said she never confirmed that she would speak. The governor eventually appeared at the dinner but did not address the crowd.

Saraceno said she respected Palin's right to change her plans at any time. She said in an e-mail that correspondence with the governor's office has been "positive but cautious," but she added, "we know she will come."

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