Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hasn’t always been best friends with the tea party, but on Sunday the presidential candidate made his pitch to the conservative activists in the movement with just more than two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses.
“I would love to have the support of your team,” Romney told Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin after taking questions during a tele-forum Sunday night.
“The Tea Party Patriots are making a big impact in the country, and I would love to have your help,” he said.
Romney’s relationship with tea party activists has not been as warm in comparison to others running for the Republican presidential nomination.
Despite repeatedly saying he lines up on the issues with tea partiers, The Daily Caller reported in August that the country’s largest tea party groups said they couldn’t recall Romney ever participating or asking to participate in any of their events since the movement began.
Several days after that story ran, Romney scheduled an appearance with the Tea Party Express.
On Sunday night, Romney discussed the steps he’d take as president to repeal President Obama’s health care law as well as the reforms he’d like to make to the current tax system. He also blasted “crony capitalism,” a term prominently used by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a tea party hero.
Other presidential candidates who participated in the call with tea party activists included Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. (RELATED: Full coverage of Mitt Romney)
Each candidate had 10 minutes to individually answer questions, which were provided beforehand by local tea party coordinators from across the country.
The activists on the call Sunday night also voted in a straw poll. The results of that poll will be announced Monday.