Washington (CNN) - Does the Republican Party speak for the Tea Party? Or is the Tea Party message to the GOP: "You don't speak for me"?
On Tuesday night, after President Obama delivers the State of the Union address, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – the House Budget Committee Chairman – will deliver the opposition response.
Then something strange, and apparently unheard of, will happen.
As soon as Ryan is done speaking, a second Republican will deliver a State of the Union response – on the Tea Party's behalf.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann will broadcast a Tea Party address in a carefully choreographed event sponsored by the Tea Party Express. It will air on the group's website as well as its partner programmer,
TeaPartyHD.com. Bachmann, a darling of the movement, is the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus. Her State of the Union response will be delivered from the National Press Club.
The dual, possibly dueling, Republican responses highlight how the GOP and the Tea Party do not always walk in lock step. It also begs the question: could Bachmann upstage Ryan?
On Monday, Majority Leader Eric Cantor made clear that Ryan – not Bachmann – will be speaking for his party.
"Paul Ryan is giving the official Republican response," Cantor told reporters. He added: "You know Michele Bachmann, just like the other 534 members of the House and Senate, are going to have opinions as to the State of the Union."
In a Friday statement from the Tea Party Express, Bachmann said, "We're doing this broadcast to demonstrate that the hardworking citizens of this country have a powerful voice in Washington, even if they still aren't being heard in the White House."
But her action will undoubtedly be viewed through a political prism. Bachmann has said she is considering a presidential bid. And the visual optics of her going up against President Obama will certainly fuel media coverage of her speech.
In a Friday statement from the Express, Chairman Amy Kremer said, "Michele Bachmann has always been very supportive of the Tea Party Express" and called Bachmann a "'Rock Star' of the movement."
– CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report