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“CPAC has been a turning point in my career on many occasions. Attending this conference as a student in the early 1990s, it was the driver that ultimately launched my career in politics and brought me to Washington just a year later,” Ms. O'Donnell said. “CPAC served as the impetus in my 2010 U.S. Senate campaign. I had been building my campaign team, yet I was missing a few key players — but I met people who filled those roles. We gained the supporters and team members we needed to launch my campaign about a month later.”

A signature independent streak, one that impressed voters and annoyed critics, remains.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to listen to your gut even when it conflicts with expert advisers,” she said, noting that she is careful to discern between gut instincts and a purely emotional response.

“My goals in the near future are broken down by project, starting with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration investigation into the IRS computer glitch that placed an erroneous lien against me on the day I announced my U.S. Senate campaign. I’d like to see some of the people involved in my case be put under oath,” Ms. O'Donnell said.

She said she is pleased with a new partnership with The Washington Times to write a column and to provide broadcast commentary for TV and radio platforms. Her real intent is to reach out to average Americans and explain the political arena, clarifying what conservatives and Republicans stand for, she said.

“If our message isn’t resonating with voters, we don’t abandon those principles. We reframe the message to reach the voters,” Ms. O'Donnell said. “That is my goal with my new column and broadcast outreach.”

She has experience explaining such things. During an appearance last month before an academic audience at the Oxford Union, the famed and august debating society within Oxford University, she parsed out America’s liberty and founding ethics to a rapt British audience.

“We have strayed from our constitutional roots,” she argued at Oxford. “The U.S. Constitution is no longer the litmus test by which we pass our laws, by which we spend our federal dollars. And this is causing the decline of America.”

Ms. O'Donnell said she remains on a mission.

“During my campaign, what kept me going was the encouragement from everyday Americans who need an advocate in Washington. So many people have been shut out or forced out of the political process. I believe that everything I’ve gone through will be used to help change that,” she said.

“It is my faith that there is a greater mission that sustains me. We all have a part to play in that mission, which is restoring the republic in America,” she said.