ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: When House Republicans planned their annual winter retreat, they extended an invitation to Alaska Gov. Sara Palin, hoping the party's 2008 vice presidential nominee would give a morale-building speech to the more than 130 Republican members of Congress gathered this weekend in Hot Springs, Va.
Retreat organizers tell ABC News that Palin politely declined, giving a perfectly understandable reason. According to the Congressional Institute, which hosted the conference, Palin said she simply could not make it to the retreat because pressing state business made it impossible for her to leave Alaska this weekend.
So where is Palin this weekend? She's in Washington, D.C., attending the super-elite Alfalfa Dinner.
"She lied to us," said a Republican at the retreat.
Asked why Palin told the Republicans she could not leave Alaska this weekend, Palin spokesman Bill McAllister offered this non-responsive answer:
"My understanding is that the governor has not scheduled any partisan events on her current trip to D.C.," McAllister told ABC News.
The House Republicans seemed to do just fine without Palin. Their list of speakers included Republican stars Michael Steele, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich.
Asked about Palin's no-show, House Republican leader John Boehner shrugged.
"Whatever," Boehner said.