Sarah Palin Ditching Phoenix Tea Party Convention to Watch Snow Machine Race. Shucks!

Tea Partiers from across the country will be flocking to Phoenix next week for the group's first ever "American Policy Summit." Sounds scary, we know, but it's not as scary as it could be -- Sarah Palin will not be in attendance.

No, the former vice presidential candidate will not be spying on Russia from her back porch -- a spokesman for the group tells New Times he believes she'll be attending the Iditarod, an 1,150 mile dog sled race across Alaska, which will prevent her from attending the conference.

(UPDATE: while the Tea Party spokesman told us Palin would be attending the Iditarod, a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News was kind enough to clarify: He says he thinks Palin is actually attending the Iron Dog snowmachine race, which her husband is running next week.)

Not to worry, Tea Partiers, there will be plenty of way-right-wingers at the conference to take her place, including former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who will deliver the conference's keynote speech.

Other presidential hopefuls slated to speak at the conference include Congressman Ron Paul, and Georgia businessman Herman Cain.

Last month, the Tea Partiers selected Phoenix for the group's first-ever national policy summit dubbed "Pathways to Liberty."

The conference is scheduled for February 25-27 -- the second anniversary of the group's founding.

According to the group, "The American Policy Summit will offer policy briefings and discussions that will hit key Tea Party themes. They will be organized around the group's core values and its 'Five Pathways to Liberty': education, politics, judicial, economics and culture."

The group's national coordinator, Mark Meckler, says "Tea Party Patriots values won the day
in November, and we are now taking steps to make sure that these values
are reflected in public policy."

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