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Palin delivers a lock and loaded speech

Former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, believes the Republican Party must broaden its message in order to grow.

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Sarah Palin's appearances no longer inspire speculation about her presidential aspirations but her reception at a large gathering of conservatives on Saturday underscored her enduring popularity with the right.

In a sweeping pep talk at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Ms Palin, a former governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential nominee, attacked President Barack Obama and the Republican groups promoting traditional candidates over insurgents in Republican primaries.

''More background checks?'' she asked, railing against new gun control proposals offered by Democrats in Congress. ''Dandy idea, Mr President. Should've started with yours.''

Sarah Palin

Enduring influence: Sarah Palin at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Photo: AP

Lines like that brought the crowd to its feet, as did a dramatic sip from a Big Gulp cup to mock mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on soda cups bigger than 16 ounces (473 millilitres) in New York.

Despite her exit from electoral politics after the 2008 presidential election during which she was John McCain's running mate, Ms Palin has an enduring influence within the conservative movement. Many of its office holders credit her with their success. They include Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who delivered the keynote address.

''She can pick winners,'' said Senator Cruz, who beat the state's lieutenant-governor in a primary last year. ''I would not be in the US Senate today if it were not for Governor Sarah Palin.''

The New York Times