Romney Steers Clear of Tea Party

Friday, 21 Jan 2011 12:22 PM

By Dan Weil

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You might expect that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, one of the top likely candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, would cozy up to tea party followers anytime he can. But he’s actually steering clear of the movement, The Boston Globe reports.

“Romney for the most part is inaccessible,’’ says Andrew mitt,romney,tea,party,2012,presidentHemingway, chairman of New Hampshire’s Republican Liberty Caucus. “[Minnesota Gov. Tom] Pawlenty, I could call him right now and say, ‘Let’s have coffee.’”

Romney has kept his distance from tea party activists in key primary states, including the state viewed as a must win for him – New Hampshire.

“Thus far, Romney is on track to present himself as the establishment candidate — a responsible, mainstream Republican leader with the necessary financial resources and credentials to beat President Obama,” The Globe reports.

“But the approach carries potential risks, as the insurgent tea party movement shifts its focus from last year’s mid-terms and seeks to exert its influence on the presidential election.”

Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, elucidates some of those risks.

“That’s a perilous role to be cast in,” he tells The Globe. “You’d much rather, especially at this stage, be the insurgent. It would actually help Romney if he could convince some of these newer activists, if he could show the ability to cross from the establishment wing to the avowedly anti-establishment wing.’’

If former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin jumps into the race, she could gain quick support from the tea party movement and strongly threaten Romney in early primary states.

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