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National tea party group warms up to Mitt Romney

Chris Moody
The Ticket

After a protracted battle against Mitt Romney, one national tea party group is waving the white flag.

The Washington Times reports that FreedomWorks, a Washington-based group that has organized some of the largest tea party rallies in the country and has opposed Romney's candidacy from the beginning, has accepted a Romney candidacy and is prepared to support him.

"It is a statistical fact that the numbers favor Mitt Romney," FreedomWorks Vice President Russ Walker told the Times on Tuesday. "We are dedicated to defeating Obama and electing a conservative Senate that will help Romney repeal Obamacare and address the nation's economic and spending challenges."

The decision is one that conservatives and tea party supporters around the country who have voted against Romney in state primary contests will be forced to consider if he continues to accumulate delegates in the upcoming state contests.

Last year, FreedomWorks staged a counter rally against the presidential candidate when he addressed a tea party meeting in Concord, N.H. In a statement before the event, a spokesman for the organization said that Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts "represents everything the tea party stands against," and said his group was "standing on principle, not politics."

But as other candidates running as the conservative alternative to Romney began to fall away, FreedomWorks softened its tone, signaling that support for him may be inevitable. In a September 2011 interview with the Huffington Post, FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe suggested that if Romney were to be become the nominee, tea party supporters should rally around him.

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"What Tea Partiers are looking for is someone that stands for something, but also someone that shows the political skills to win," Kibbe said. "It's not enough to be right and lose. The goal here is to win the presidency."

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