While some of the Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential race attended the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, DC this weekend, playing up to social conservatives, Amy Kremer, chair of the Tea Party Express told Fox News yesterday that they will support whoever wins the GOP nomination. Even if it is Mitt Romney. Kremer says the focus should be to oust Barack Obama from the White House. Meanwhile, during the conference, Herman Cain lashed out at Romney, as well as Michele Bachmann, during his speech. Cain, well liked by many in the Tea Party movement, seems ready to mix it up with other Republicans. For the most part, the GOP candidates have directed their venom to Obama, not among themselves.

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The head of the Tea Party Express has said they will support any GOP presidential nominee over Barack Obama in 2012, even Mitt Romney! Image Credit: Carrie Devorah/WENN.com.

The Tea Party Express is just one of several large umbrella organizations that make up the movement. If anything, they are considered the ‘bad-boys’ of the Tea Party movement, largely due to past leadership and candidate choices, such as Sharron Angle, Christine O′Donnell and Joe Miller. With some 2,000 different groups, no one organization speaks for the entire movement. Other major organizations, such as the Tea Party Patriots and Freedomworks, do not endorse individual candidates.

While not all people who consider themselves to be part of the Tea Party movement are Republicans, a large percentage of them are. Nearly three-quarters also subscribe to causes typically linked to those of social conservatives. A fair percentage, around 20%, could be described politically as Libertarians, more focused on fiscal conservative issues and reducing the size and power of the Federal government. There is little doubt that the Tea Party played a significant role during the 2010 mid-term elections. The question remains just how important their support will be during the GOP primaries? Can any candidate win the Republican presidential nomination without the backing of the Tea Party movement? Ralph Reed, one of the organizers of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, acknowledges that there are distinctions between social conservatives and the Tea Party, but that there is enough common ground for them to work together to give Obama the boot.

The main purpose behind Amy Kremer stating that the Tea Party Express will support whoever the GOP nominee is, is to prevent a third-party candidate from running, which could split the vote in favor of Obama. As recently as this past week, while on her One Nation bus tour, Sarah Palin refused to rule out the possibility of a third-party option. Donald Trump, whom met with Palin this week, has also stated that he would still consider running as an independent should the Republicans nominate “a stiff”. Clearly a reference to Mitt Romney and not someone dynamic as Herman Cain. In a new poll of GOP voters in Georgia, home to both Cain and Newt Gingrich, Cain tops the entire field of candidates with 26%, twice as many or more than any of the others. He is also considered a potential favorite for the Iowa caucus, now that Mike Huckabee has decided not to run.

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