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Long IslandPolitics

Sarah Palin attends GOP fundraiser despite tensions

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 who was initially slated to headline the annual Senate-Housedinner -- left organizers hanging as late as Monday afternoon after she was told she wouldn't have a speakingrole 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.

PHOTOS: Sarah Palin on LI, at Yankees game

In March, organizers replaced Palin as the keynote speaker with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich after shewavered over accepting the invitation.

She hadn't been expected to attend until last week, when her advisers approached organizers saying she wouldbe near Washington and would like to come.

Republican officials involved in the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivityof the matter, said Palin was invited to sit at a head table but was told she would not be given a chance to speakfor fear that she might overshadow Gingrich.

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 appealover 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 wouldattend, 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 believedto 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 largestfundraisers. Palin's representatives said later that the governor never confirmed that she would speak andwanted 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 thefundraiser comes as Palin is denying an allegation that a speech she recently gave borrowed heavily from anarticle he co-wrote.

Responding to an accusation from a blogger on the Huffington Post Web site, Palin's attorney said the governorgave Gingrich proper credit when she used some of his material about former President Ronald Reagan.

PHOTOS: Sarah Palin on LI, at Yankees game

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