FreedomWorks to protest Romney Tea Party Express speech

FreedomWorks, a national Tea Party group that has long targeted former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), will protest his speech to Tea Party Express supporters Sunday in New Hampshire.

The group, which has been helping to organize the Tea Party ExpressReclaiming America bus tour, will no longer be involved with the tour because it allowed Romney and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to speak, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said.

Mitt Romney and Orrin Hatch have actively and consistently supported expanding the role of government through government-run healthcare, Wall Street bailouts and spending hikes. Those positions are unacceptable to the Tea Party principles of lower taxes, less government and more freedom, Kibbe said. For these reasons, we have decided to end our participation in the Reclaiming America tour.

Romney has struggled to connect with Tea Party supporters. According to a recent Gallup poll, he trails Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) 34 percent to 14 percent among Tea Party supporters, who make up more than half of likely GOP primary voters.

Romney announced Tuesday that he would participate in the event, the first major Tea Party event he has headlined.

His campaign pushed back on Tuesday against the notion that Romney has not reached out to Tea Party supporters, pointing out Romneys participation in an Americans for Prosperity debate earlier this summer,  and that the Tea Party Express is a co-host of a CNN debate Romney has long planned to attend.

Governor Romney over the past few years has campaigned for Tea Party-minded candidates across the country,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said. Hes also met with Tea Party leaders across the country. ... Governor Romney will continue to campaign on a message of fiscal responsibility that will appeal to Tea Party members and conservative Republicans.

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