Thousands will gather in the nation's capitol this weekend for what has been named one of the most influential events to the 2008 presidential election.
The Family Research Council's annual Values Voters Summit began Friday in Washington, D.C., a conference where Christian conservatives discuss values they consider important as a voter.
The addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket has stirred an even greater interest this year, FRC president Tony Perkins said.
"There is a lot of enthusiasm among social conservatives now, while just a month ago there was almost none," he said. "But a lot of work has to be done because there has not been the operations on the ground or grass roots enthusiasm until now that was there for Bush in 2004."
The three-day event will feature various speakers, including former Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, CNN reporter Lou Dobbs and Christian actor and evangelist Stephen Baldwin. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who addressed the group last year, will be seen via video on Saturday.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain will not attend the event, though the FRC says a spot is still open in case he changes his mind. It is unclear whether Sen. Barack Obama accepted his invitation to attend.
A recent Cox News Service list named the Values Voters Summit on of the top 20 events "most crucial in determining the next president."
Sources: The Christian Post, Family Research Council, NBC, Citizen Link