- The Washington Times - Monday, July 30, 2007

More than 400 campus activists from across the country will hear from Republican officials, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and a host of conservative speakers at a conference convening today at George Washington University.

Students from 36 states and 180 colleges and universities are expected to attend the Young America’s Foundation’s 29th annual National Conservative Student Conference, YAF officials said.

The weeklong event has “grown tremendously since we first started the conference in 1979,” said Jason Mattera, national spokesman for the foundation.

In addition to Mr. Gingrich, Republicans scheduled to address the conference include former Sen. George Allen of Virginia, Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who will address tonight’s dinner banquet. Students will also hear from Tim Goeglein, deputy director of the Office of Public Liaison at the White House.

The conference “always has the biggest names in the conservative movement,” said Mr. Mattera, noting that past speakers at the annual YAF event have included former President Ronald Reagan, Attorney General Edwin Meese III, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman.

This year’s event features speakers whom Mr. Mattera described as “stalwart conservatives who are able to present a message of limited government and traditional values eloquently and persuasively.”

Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of The Washington Times, will speak at tomorrow’s dinner banquet, and other speakers at the YAF conference this year include Michelle Malkin, Deroy Murdock and George Mason University economics professor Walter Williams, whose syndicated columns appear regularly in The Times’ commentary section.

Talk radio will be well-represented at the YAF event, with speakers including conservative hosts Michael Reagan (featured at Wednesday’s banquet), Kirby Wilbur and Herman Cain, as well as G. Gordon Liddy, who will address Friday’s closing banquet.

In addition to the hundreds of students attending the conference full time, YAF also invites interns working in Washington to attend on a part-time basis.

“We open it up to them so they can attend events, especially the evening banquets,” Mr. Mattera said.

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