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Allen West Will Keynote CPAC

Freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) will be the closing keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference this year, he said in a Wednesday morning tweet.

"I've been asked today to have the honor of giving the closing keynote address at CPAC Saturday. I'm humbled," West tweeted. A call to West's spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) had been the conservative gathering's first choice to give the closing speech, but the possible 2012 presidential contender declined the invitation. It's the third year Palin has decided not to attend the conference, due in large part to a tenuous relationship with CPAC organizer and American Conservative Union President David Keene.

West, one of only two African-American Republicans currently in Congress, had originally been scheduled to address CPAC attendees Thursday morning. The tea party favorite also addressed the group last year when he was beginning his second challenge to Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.).

West has emerged as one of the more outspoken and controversial freshmen in the new class, most recently for comments he made about his Muslim House colleague. And West is likely to have another fight in 2012 to hold onto his district, which voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and for John Kerry in 2004.

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