AP News

Romney to address conservative conference in March


WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will make his first public speech since the 2012 election at a noteworthy gathering of conservatives next month.

Romney plans to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on March 15, offering his first extended remarks about national affairs and the conservative movement since losing the November election to President Barack Obama.

The former Massachusetts governor has maintained a low profile since the election, spending time at his Southern California home and rarely venturing into Washington fights over taxes, spending and Cabinet nominees. He met with supporters in Washington after the election and joined Obama for lunch at the White House but has yet to offer a public critique of Obama's second term or advice on a way forward for Republicans.

Romney's speech will come as many Republicans offer prescriptions for the party's disappointing 2012 election and look to a new generation of leaders to compete with Democrats. A Romney adviser said the CPAC speech would give Romney an opportunity to express his appreciation to friends and supporters of his campaign.

Romney has a long history at the conference, which draws some of the leading voices in the Republican party every year. He has won several CPAC straw polls and announced he was ending his 2008 presidential campaign at the conference.

Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, said they were looking forward to hearing Romney's views on the current state of affairs in the nation and around the world and "the future of the conservative movement."

Other speakers at the March 14-16 conference include: Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Romney's speech was first reported by the National Review.

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Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Boston contributed to this report.

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Follow Ken Thomas at: http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas


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