USA TODAY NETWORK
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — As the Conservative Political Action Conference kicked off just outside of Washington this week, there was one name noticeably missing from the roster of speakers: Sarah Palin.
The former Alaska governor used to be a rock star at the annual conservative gathering. But this year she wasn’t invited to CPAC, put on by the American Conservative Union.
“I think conservatives might be trying to rebrand a little bit,” said Adrianna Conradson, a student from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. “Maybe that’s why they didn’t invite people we typically see.”
“They have Kellyanne now,” Conradson said, referring to President Trump’s senior adviser and former campaign manager who spoke Thursday morning. Conway was the first woman to successfully run a presidential campaign. “She’s a strong female leader in the party, so I think they might be trying to switch it up and find new people, fresh people. And she has a big role in the current administration so she might be more relevant than Sarah Palin.”
More USA TODAY coverage of CPAC:
Corrie Lee was at CPAC as a member of Future Female Leaders, a conservative group trying to get young women involved in politics. She is also a student at Campbell University in North Carolina.
“I don’t think it means anything that she’s not here,” Lee said. “She’s someone to look up to as a conservative woman, but maybe not someone who is going to be elected in the future. She’s probably just taking her sabbatical and moving on.”
But the CPAC stage isn’t the only place Palin is missing from. The 2008 Republican vice presidential…