JUNEAU, Alaska -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she will attend an exclusive club dinner in Washington this weekend because it could offer her an audience with President Obama.
In an impromptu, eight-minute meeting with reporters Wednesday outside the governor's mansion, the former Republican vice presidential candidate also detailed reasons why she's started her own political action committee and laughed off suggestions that she's in line for an $11 million book deal.
Palin said she is participating in events -- like Saturday's Alfalfa Club dinner in the nation's capital -- to promote Alaska's interests as its governor. Obama is expected to also attend the elite gathering of Washington's political and media establishment.
"How often will I get an opportunity to have dinner with the president? I will take up that offer to do so," Palin said.
A dinner Friday night at the home of financier Fred Malek also will give her a chance to lobby congressional leaders, like Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about Alaska issues regarding the federal stimulus package, she said.
The package calls for quick starts on construction projects, but Palin said Alaska will likely require an exemption to the strict timelines proposed because of the climate and shorter construction season.
Palin also is scheduled to meet with her Washington, D.C., staff prior to the Alfalfa Club dinner on Saturday. She's expected to return to Alaska on Sunday.
Her office later Wednesday issued a news release saying these were bipartisan events in Washington, D.C., and not related to Republican party activities.
In stark contrast, Palin earlier this week launched SarahPAC, a political fundraising organization, so she wouldn't use state funds to attend events that might be considered political.
She catapulted into the public eye last year as GOP presidential candidate John McCain's running mate and is widely believed to be eyeing a presidential bid in 2012. Aides said the PAC will help serve as a vehicle for her political activities going forward.
Palin, however, denied that it means she is running for president.
"No. Not at all. Not at all. No. It's helpful to have a PAC so when I'm invited to things, even like to speak at the Lincoln Day dinner in Fairbanks, to have the PAC pay for that instead of have the state pay for that because that could be considered quasi-political," she said.
Palin also attempted to shoot down rumors that she's in line for a big payday from a publishing house.
Palin said she doesn't have a publisher for a book deal, and laughed off media reports that such a contract could bring her $11 million.
"I will let you know if ever there is an offer, but that $11 million dollar figure I read about is laughable. It's out of anybody's realm of possibility of consideration," she said.
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