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2012 Hopefuls to Attend AIPAC Event

At least four Republicans who have entered the 2012 presidential race or are considering campaigns are planning to attend next week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference, where President Barack Obama and other top Democrats are also scheduled to appear, sources confirmed Friday.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and wealthy Georgia businessman Herman Cain will make appearances at the conference, which runs Sunday through Tuesday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Gingrich, who entered the GOP presidential primary race last week, and Bachmann, who may announce her intentions as early as next week, are scheduled to hold receptions. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama and fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton held similar receptions at the AIPAC conference, giving them an opportunity to meet and speak to attendees.

Huntsman, who has yet to formally enter the race but was in New Hampshire on a campaign swing Friday, and Cain, who has formed a presidential exploratory committee, are set to attend the conference’s marquis dinner event Monday.

Obama will deliver remarks to the conference Sunday morning, according to the White House. The address follows his speech on Middle East policy Thursday and his Oval Office meeting Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Among Monday evening’s featured speakers are Netanyahu, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

The national campaign committees will also maintain a presence at the conference. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic National Committee and its chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), are scheduled to hold receptions.

AIPAC is touting the conference as the largest in the organization’s history, with an estimated 10,000 delegates from all 50 states, including 1,500 students from 400 colleges. The annual event, which is held by the most influential pro-Israel organization in the country, regularly attracts a bipartisan mix of lawmakers, presidential candidates and administration officials.

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