ABC News' David Chalian Reports: Gov. Sarah Palin is clearly not ready to relinquish the spotlight following her defeat with John McCain on the Republican presidential ticket last Tuesday. The Republican Governors Association has announced today that Gov. Palin will be the featured guest at its annual conference later this week in Miami, Florida.
Gov. Palin is set to be a featured speaker at a panel discussion entitled, "Looking Toward the Future." Other featured speakers expected to partake on the panel are General Tommy Franks, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), Bill Kristol, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC). (Try to count on one hand how many of those folks have 2012 circled on their calendars.)
In addition to delivering remarks at the panel discussion, Gov. Palin also plans to hold a Thursday morning press availability where she is likely to face some questions about her role in the campaign and her future in the party.
It will be hard to miss Gov. Palin this week. Not only is the former vice presidential candidate attending the first high profile gathering of Republican elected officials after the party suffered severe losses last week, but she is also sitting down with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren and NBC News' Matt Lauer for her first nationally televised interviews since the campaign.
In the days following John McCain's loss to Barack Obama, the Palin fallout has been the dominant story line on the Republican side of the ledger. News accounts of anonymous McCain campaign aides accusing Gov. Palin of having little knowledge of world affairs (and geography) coupled with more details spilling out about her now infamous wardrobe lingered for days after the campaign came to a close. Gov. Palin met with reporters in Alaska on Friday to pushback on those accusations and to call the anonymous sources doing the leaking, "cowards." An aide to Gov. Palin, Meg Stapleton, spoke to ABC News' Kate Snow last week defending Gov. Palin from these accusations that emerged after the election.
The annual gathering of the Republican Governors Association falls on the heels of a tough election cycle for the GOP and will serve as the first opportunity for many party leaders and potential future standard bearers to regroup and begin to put forth the face, message, and mission of the Republican Party at the start of the Obama era.