Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is set to return to the Republican spotlight next month, when he delivers a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, National Review reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the event’s itinerary.
“This is really an opportunity for Governor Romney to thank all his supporters and friends,” a senior Romney aide tells National Review.
Romney has been a popular figure at CPAC in years past. He won the event's prestigious straw poll in four of the past six years, with former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul winning in 2010 and 2011.
But he has kept a low profile since losing the November election. Romney was notably absent from Washington, D.C., during President Barack Obama's inauguration, reportedly choosing to remain at his beach home in La Jolla, Calif. Romney and his wife, Ann, returned to Washington last month to attend a luncheon in their honor and address former supporters.
“We lost, but I’m not going away,” Romney told the crowd at that event, according to Politico. “I will continue to help.”
This year's annual conservative confab will be held in the Washington area in March at the National Harbor. Other guests include potential 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who will deliver the event's keynote address. Over the weekend, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin accepted her invitation.
UPDATE: 4:15 p.m. -- Romney addressed his plans in a statement released by the the American Conservative Union.
“I look forward to saying thank you to the many friends and supporters who were instrumental in helping my campaign,” he said.
ACU Chairman Al Cardenas announced Romney's planned attendance with excitement.
“The thousands gathered at CPAC this year are eager to hear from the 2012 GOP presidential candidate at his first public appearance since the elections,” he said. “We look forward to hearing Governor Romney’s comments on the current state of affairs in America and the world, and his perspective on the future of the conservative movement.”