Gingrich Replaces Palin as Headliner for GOP Dinner

Posted March 31, 2009 at 5:44pm

Two weeks after GOP campaign officials announced that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) would give the keynote address at the annual Senate-House fundraising dinner, the former vice presidential candidate has been replaced on the program by former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

The move ends what had become a high-profile saga surrounding Palin’s appearance, marked by a series of miscommunications between the governor’s Alaska office and Republican operatives in Washington, D.C.

Palin’s office said the governor had never confirmed that she would headline the June event.

But National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh said Tuesday that after initially confirming her attendance, her team informed both committees that her gubernatorial responsibilities in Alaska prevented her from committing until the end of the state’s legislative session.

“We decided to go in another direction,— National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said. “Speaker Gingrich is a leader and an influential voice within the Republican party, and we are thrilled to have him.—