WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Efforts by Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to reach out to the Tea Party have upset some Tea Party groups, U.S. political observers said.
The former Massachusetts governor, who had previously kept the Tea Party at arms-length, has increased his visibility with the group since Texas Gov. Rick Perry of Texas entered the race for the Republican nomination, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.
Perry, who entered the race last month, is a Tea Party favorite, the report said. A Gallup Poll last week showed Perry supported by 35 percent of self-identified Tea Party members.
The newspaper said many Tea Party activists distrust Romney because of his past positions and his political flexibility.
Representatives from Tea Party groups such as the Republican Liberty Caucus, the Lakes Region Tea Party, the Raymond Tea Party and Granite State Patriots are planning to stage a protest event Sunday night in New Hampshire before Romney speaks at a Tea Party Express rally.
Levi Russell, spokesman for the Tea Party Express, said Romney is certainly late in getting on the Tea Party bandwagon but told the newspaper the protest is "a silly stunt that's unhelpful to advancing the Tea Party movement or finding a suitable replacement for Barack Obama.''