By Ed Payne (CNN)-
He's been quiet after resigning because of an affair with his biographer...but last night former CIA Director David Petraeus stepped out of the shadows to make his first major public appearance since his resignation in November.
"Thank you very much."
At a California dinner honoring veterans, ROTC students and active duty military...
He opened his speech with this...
"I join you keenly aware that I am regarded in a different light now than I was a year ago.//So please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply I regret - and apologize for - the circumstances that led me to resign from the CIA and caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters."
Petraeus was invited to speak at the event a year ago when he was still director of the CIA.
Though sources say he is not ready to announce his future plans... Experts say this is a step in the right direction.
"This is a man with enormous talents. He's 60 years old. The tragedy would be if he isn't back and being constructive and productive again, it would be a loss for all of us.
Now, it's not without a cost. He paid a tremendous price here."
A source close to Petraeus says he's considering whether he wants to be represented by a speaker's bureau for future speeches.
They also say he is considering teaching jobs.
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