4 Republican hopefuls in New Hampshire find tepid Tea Party turnout
Four potential Republican presidential hopefuls showed up, but the turnout for the New Hampshire Tea Party tax day rally was rather tepid.
On a brilliant spring day in Concord, perfect for a rally, only about 300 came to protest taxes and the Obama Administration, a far cry from the robust rallies held ahead of the 2010 elections.
Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum — who have declared they are exploring a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 — and Herman Cain and Buddy Roemer — who are considered potential hopefuls — joined state politicians in an attempt to get the crowd fired up.
Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, gave a thumbs up to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposed multi-trillion dollar spending cuts, but said the cuts did not go deep enough.
Local attendees noted that the gathering was about one-tenth the size of a recent rally in support of public sector unions that packed the green in front of the State House.
Michael Faiella, 64, a retired teacher from Northwood, N.H., said Tea Party loyalists might feel like they have achieved many of their goals after the last election cycle.
“I thought there would be more here. But people who would come out if they were angry are now happier,” he said.
Counter-protests were also on the rise. A group called “Students 4 Sanity,” based out of Plymouth State University, staged a noisy protest against cuts to education funding, mental health agencies and other social services.
“It’s hard for me to listen to this,” Mary Anne Pendleton, 75, of Temple, N.H., said, gesturing toward the stage. “The cuts they’ve made … good people can’t just sit by.”
Russell Cumbee, 65, a retired parole officer from Franconia, N.H., expressed disgust at both major political parties. “This week’s budget vote was more of the same corrupt politics,” he said. “I’m liking Michele Bachmann. She seems to be tough and principled.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (Santorum listens to National Anthem at Tea Party rally in Concord)