Is the next GOP presidential candidate a CPAC speaker?

There's no question that the next GOP presidential nominee will have spoken at this year's CPAC conference, a top Republican lawmaker said Friday.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that he expects the 2012 Republican nominee to come from the roster of this year's speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

"I don't think there's any question that you've seen the next Republican president or nominee, but you've seen a lot of people there," Issa said during an interview on ABC News's "Top Line" webcast.

ADVERTISEMENT
Indeed, the list of 2012 contenders is deep. Speakers who are considered White House aspirants include Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.), Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.).

But maybe what's more notable is the list of possible 2012 candidates who aren't speaking at CPAC. That list includes: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. John Thune (S.D.), Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who isn't taking a major speaking spot at the convention, but who made a "special appearance" at an event with his daughter.

Conference attendees will vote on who their favorite 2012 candidate is on Saturday in CPAC's annual straw poll, which is seen as a preliminary indicator of interest in a candidate for president.