BOSTON (AP) – It’s a tricky time of courtship.
As theÂ tea party turns 2, the still-gelling field of Republican presidential contenders is the first class of WhiteÂ House hopefuls to try to figure out how to tap the movement’s energy without alienating voters elsewhere on the political spectrum.
Look no further than this weekend’s events marking theÂ tea party’s second anniversary to see how the candidates are employing different strategies. Some will be out front as theÂ tea party stages tax day rallies across the country. Others, not so much.
Former Minnesota Gov.Â Tim Pawlenty, an establishment Republican making a play forÂ tea party support and clamoring to be heard over bigger names, is among those jumping in with both feet. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is being more coy.
Pawlenty, for his part, planned to hold court at a gathering on Boston Commonâ€”in the city where colonists staged the 1773Â Tea Party revolt against the British governmentâ€”and in neighboringÂ New Hampshire. And he’s headed forÂ Iowa a day later for similar appearances that are likely to include “Don’t Tread on Me” banners and tirades againstÂ Washington spending.
Former Alaska Gov.Â Sarah Palin, perhaps the Republican most closely identified with theÂ tea party, is slated to attend a weekendÂ tea party rally at theÂ Wisconsin Capitol, the site of recent protests over legislation that would strip union rights for most public workers.
Tea party darling Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman, all but drafted into the race by tea partyers, plans to share the steps of theÂ South Carolina Statehouse with another of the movement’s favorite daughters, Gov.Nikki Haley.
Other contenders are proceeding with more caution.
Barbour plans weekend stops at county GOP conventions in Charleston,Â Columbia andÂ Lexington, S.C. But he had no big tax day rallies on his schedule in a state whereÂ tea party activists have gained influence. As he weighs a presidential bid, Barbour has been more subtle than others in courting the movement. He talks about issues theÂ tea party cares about, first and foremost the economy.
It’s the same approach that formerÂ Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been taking. He talks about lower taxes and reduced government and was set to appear at a central Florida anti-tax event. He decries theInternal Revenue Service, a top target of tea partyers. And in his defense of the Massachusetts health care overhaul that he pushed through, he invokes the 10th Amendment that guaranteesÂ states’ rights.
In an opinion piece published Friday in theÂ Orlando Sentinel, Romney praised theÂ tea party-style activists: “The growth of government is not some inexorable force. In a democracy, we the people decide. Thanks to theÂ tea party, there’s real hope that we can rein in our profligate federal government.”
But he spends the bulk of the column decrying President Barack Obama on policy, not invoking theFounding Fathers.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9MJVJ102&show_article=1
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