White House paints GOP field with tea party brush

By Charles Babington

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 17 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks to supporters at the Beacon Drive-in, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011, in Spartanburg, S.C.

Richard Shiro, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Are the GOP and the tea party one in the same? Yes, according to the White House.

The rising profiles of Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are giving President Barack Obama and his Democrats a new opening: linking the entire GOP field to the tea party, whose popularity has recently sagged.

A new video by the Democratic National Committee provides a window into the strategy. It says Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates are, in the DNC's words, "embracing extreme tea party policies."

If the strategy works, it could cause guilt-by-association problems even for non-tea-party Republicans like Mitt Romney.

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