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Does planned Palin speech offer hint of her 2012 plans?

Sarah Palin
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin smiles as she is introduced during a public appearance at a Long Island Association (LIA) meeting and luncheon in Woodbury, N.Y. Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

It's still unclear whether former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin plans to jump into the 2012 presidential race, but here's one sign she may not be, at least not for a while: Palin is now slated to speak at a fundraiser in Colorado for the families of fallen soldiers on the same day as the first scheduled Republican presidential primary debate.

Palin is headlining a "Tribute to the Troops with Sarah Palin" at Colorado Christian University on May 2, the Denver Post reports. The event, which supports the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

The fundraiser falls on the same evening as the Republican primary debate that NBC and Politico are hosting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

"Presumably, this means she will be doing (the fundraiser) instead of any other engagement on the second," John Andrews, who leads the Centennial Institute think tank at Colorado Christian University, told the Post.

Andrews said Palin was an appropriate choice for the fundraiser since her son Track Palin served in Iraq. He said the former vice presidential candidate will not receive a speaking fee for her appearance.

While the GOP 2012 presidential field remains essentially wide open at this point, some potential candidates appear more eager than others to jump into the race. Last week, Fox News announced it was suspending its contracts with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum as they consider presidential bids. The network, however, is for now keeping in tact its contracts with Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mik Huckabee.

Palin told Fox Business Network last week that she and other possible candidates are "months away" from having to make a decision. "In the meantime, you know, I'm gonna keep chiming in on the issues that are important in this day," she said.

In a recent interview with BBC News, Palin said she was weighing whether America was ready for an "unconventional" candidate such as herself -- and whether she could compete with President Obama financially.

"Obama has already said he's going to spend a billion dollars on this race, so money is certainly going to be a consideration," she said.

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