Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appeared at a Republican congressional fundraiser Monday night, ending a will-she-or-won't-she mystery that overshadowed the event and frustrated the GOP.
Palin, the party's 2008 vice presidential nominee, was initially slated to headline the annual Senate-House dinner. She left organizers hanging as late as Monday afternoon after she was told she wouldn't have a speaking role at the event.
It was the latest twist in an unusual public flap between the potential 2012 presidential candidate and the Republican congressional leaders who run the party's fundraising committees.
In March, organizers replaced Palin as the keynote speaker with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich after she wavered over accepting the invitation.
She hadn't been expected to attend until last week, when her advisers approached organizers saying she would be near Washington and would like to come.
Republican officials involved in the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Palin was invited to sit at a head table but was told she would not be given a chance to speak for fear that she might overshadow Gingrich.
Plea to attend
Palin balked at that arrangement but did not make clear whether she would refuse to attend, the officials said. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, made a personal appeal over the weekend for her to attend and invited her and her husband, Todd Palin, to sit at his table.
Late Monday afternoon, the officials said Palin's aides had informed organizers that she and her husband would attend, although a spokeswoman for the governor's political committee would not confirm that.
Palin catapulted to fame last year as presidential candidate John McCain's running mate and is widely believed to be eyeing a presidential bid in 2012.
In March, Cornyn's committee and its House counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, put out a news release saying she would be the keynote speaker at the dinner, which is one of the party's largest fundraisers. Palin's representatives said later that the governor never confirmed that she would speak and wanted to make sure the event did not interfere with state business.
Gingrich also has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012, and the confusion over the fundraiser comes as Palin is denying an allegation that a speech she recently gave borrowed heavily from an article he co-wrote.
Responding to an accusation from a blogger on the Huffington Post Web site, Palin's attorney said the governor gave Gingrich proper credit when she used some of his material about former President Ronald Reagan.