Palin’s attendance at the exclusive event – put on by a group of top Washington journalists – will mark the second time the former Alaska governor has flown to the capital to mix with the city’s political elite. Earlier this year she attended the annual dinner put on by the Alfalfa Club, an insiders’ organization that exists to throw an off-the-record winter bash.

Her planned appearance at the Gridiron also follows in the footsteps of another ambitious young politician: President Barack Obama spoke at the dinner in 2006.