Unlike the other big-name Republicans in the conversation for 2012, Mitt Romney is keeping a careful distance from the Tea Party, writes Matt Viser in the Boston Globe. There's still plenty of time for things to change, of course, but for now he's essentially freezing out representatives of the movement in the key primary states—including New Hampshire, which is a must-win for him.
“Romney for the most part is inaccessible," one Tea Party activist in the state tells the Globe. “Pawlenty, I could call him right now and say, ‘Let’s have coffee.’" Romney is apparently more content to cultivate an image as a mainstream "establishment candidate," writes Viser, and it's a dicey strategy. As one political science professor notes, he risks alienating his party's most energized faction.