FreedomWorks, the trendsetting conservative group with tea-party ties chaired by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, has Mitt Romney squarely in its crosshairs.

"A top goal of the nation's most influential national Tea Party group is to stop Mitt Romney from winning the Republican nomination for president," Jon Ward writes for Huffington Post. "Interviews with top officials at FreedomWorks, a Washington-based organizing hub for Tea Party activists around the country, revealed that much of their thinking about the 2012 election revolves around derailing the former Massachusetts governor."

Columbia University professor Lincoln Mitchell expands on why Romney winning the Republican presidential nomination would be such anathema to the tea party: "Should Romney, as is increasingly likely, win the nomination, it will be a severe defeat for the Tea Party faction of the party," Mitchell declares at Huffington Post. "Although Romney has sought to portray himself as a true conservative ... Romney is not a fundamentalist Christian, nor is he given to extremist and provocative statements like some of his opponents. Romney seems like a conservative from another generation primarily concerned with making his rich friends richer, rather than with taking radical positions on social policies."

Frank James at NPR explains how this latest development in the Romney's likely run for the White House is truly a historical anomaly: "As so many have noted, what continues to make all of this so interesting is how much of a departure it is from past GOP practice where the candidate who was next in line for the nomination generally got it without too much fuss as the party coalesced around the frontrunner."

If the tea party succeeds in derailing Romney, a favorite to take his place atop the Republican heap is former Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty.

This week, Pawlenty officially launched his presidential campaign — including his pronouncement in corn-reliant Iowa that he favors the end of ethanol subsidies.

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