In another sign "that Sen. John Thune seriously is considering a bid for president, he has accepted an invitation to address an influential conservative group next month in Washington," the Argus Leader reports.
Thune, R-S.D., has declined a request to speak before the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in the past, but the senator was able to make the Feb. 10-12 event this year, spokesman Kyle Downey said.
"Senator Thune’s schedule did not allow for him to attend CPAC previously, but that is not the case this year, and the senator is looking forward to addressing this annual gathering of leading conservatives," Downey said.
CPAC, sponsored by the American Conservative Union, has become a proving ground for Republican presidential candidates who want to tout their right-of-center credentials to many key party loyalists who will have an important say on who the nominee will be. In 2008, Arizona Sen. John McCain’s speech to CPAC helped assuage skeptical conservatives who didn’t always agree with him.
He will also "be traveling to Minnesota and Missouri in the coming weeks to speak to Republican groups."