“He’s going to have a lot of friends in that room, and there are going to be a lot of people who will appreciate the sacrifices he and his family made over the last several years,” Keller said. “But anyone who knows Gov. Romney either professionally or personally knows he’s not the kind of man who rests on his laurels. He has a constant energy about him, and he’s not the kind of person who’s going to withdraw from politics and give a big farewell at a CPAC speech.”…

Romney’s generally positive relationship with CPAC over the years notwithstanding, the conference has not been roses for him in every instance. Despite winning the straw poll last year, the lasting headline from the event was the candidate’s assessment of himself as a “severely conservative” governor — an off-key characterization that left many activists wondering if he was trying too hard to speak a right-leaning language that does not come naturally to him.

And Romney’s appearance at this year’s event has left some of the event’s participants scratching their heads. “I think a lot of people are confused by what he hopes to accomplish,” said one scheduled CPAC speaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t want to take a formal role as a candidate in the future, and he had never previously been a thought leader on conservative issues.”