Watch CBSN Live

Allen West Gets CPAC Keynote Slot

Allen West
Florida Congressman Allen West

Tea Party-backed freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) will be the keynote speaker at this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference, an influential gathering of conservative activists that doubles as a cattle call for likely 2012 GOP presidential candidates.

"I've been asked today to have the honor of giving the closing keynote address at CPAC Saturday. I'm humbled," he wrote on Twitter.

West, one of two African-American Republicans elected to Congress last year, will speak late Saturday afternoon, shortly after the results of the straw poll of potential presidential candidates are announced. He's taking the slot after Sarah Palin turned it down, pointing to scheduling conflicts.

The keynote speakers at the last two CPACs have been Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and the decision to offer this year's slot to West reflects the high regard in which he is held in conservative circles. The outspoken conservative recently made headlines for stating that Muslim Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison represents the "antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established" because he supports the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

On Tuesday, West said that AOL's purchase of the left-wing news and opinion site The Huffington Post represents a threat to the Tea Party movement.

"You look out there, you see that AOL has purchased the Huffington Post," he said. "Now all of a sudden a very far left liberal blogger such as Arianna Huffington has a huge influence in the Internet world. We cannot allow ourselves to be suppressed. We cannot allow them to take over the Internet."

More: Sizing Up the 2012 GOP Presidential Contenders

View CBS News In