OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton is on the minds of Republicans at the nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists.

Several high-profile Republicans launched a dual effort today to attack the prospective Democratic presidential candidate and improve the GOP's longstanding struggle with women voters.

It was the closing act of the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington which highlighted the Republican Party's acute challenges.

Former vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, offered a message to all women, a group that has backed Democrats in every presidential election since 1988: "Women, don't let them use you — unless you choose to be their political pawn, just their piece of accessory on their arm."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Clinton, if she were to become president, would be -- quote -- "a prison guard for the past."

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won overwhelmingly the conference's presidential preference straw poll, a symbolic victory that reflects his popularity among conservatives.