(CNN) – It's April 15, the traditional deadline day for Americans to file their tax returns. And for the third straight year, it's also a day when Tea Party activists across the country gather to protest what they consider unfair federal tax rates.
But two things make this year different.
With the battle for the Republican presidential nomination underway, many probable and possible GOP White House candidates will make sure they're front and center at some of the these Tea Party rallies. And secondly, this year the Internal Revenue Service approved April 18 as the tax filing deadline for 2010 tax returns and extension requests, in observation of Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia, which this year falls on April 15. That gives Tea Party activists a four day window to hold gatherings.
The most covered event Friday may be Americans for Prosperity's third annual Taxpayer Tea Party rally at the state house in Concord, New Hampshire. The Granite state holds the first primary in the presidential and caucus calendar. That may be one reason why former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain all will speak at the gathering.
Pawlenty heads from New Hampshire south to neighboring Massachusetts later in the day to headline another tax day event, put on by the Greater Boston Tea Party. Not to be outdone, Cain heads much further south, to Florida, where he's scheduled to speak at a Tea Party gathering in Orlando.
Also in the Sunshine state Friday is former Massachusetts Gov. and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He speaks to taxpayers at an H&R Block branch in Orlando. In an op-ed in Friday's Orlando Sentinel, Romney praised the two year old movement, saying "thanks to the Tea Party, there's real hope that we can rein in our profligate federal government."
The action continues Saturday, with Rep. Michele Bachmann of South Carolina appearing at a Tea Party gathering in South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary in the road to the White House. Bachmann also speaks at a Tax Day rally at the state capitol in Columbia on Monday.
While Bachmann is a darling of many Tea Party activists, she'll have to share the spotlight this weekend. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks to a Tea Party rally in Madison, Wisconsin Saturday afternoon. The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee is not ruling out a bid for the White House. Around the same time Donald Trump goes before cameras at a Tea Party rally in Boca Raton, Florida. The real estate mogul says he'll decide by June on whether he'll run for the Republican presidential nomination.
It's no surprise that so many potential Republican presidential hopefuls are making sure they show up at these events. The Tea Party movement was extremely influential in the GOP primaries in last year's midterm elections and there's no reason to believe that it won't play a major role in determining the party's presidential nominee next year.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
@John – I really enjoyed your "we the people" speech. There si just one problem. You don't speak for me! I don't agree with anything you said so it is not "we the people" that want all those things. It is only you! So shut the hell up with your "we the people" BS. Go tip a cow or something you backwoods hick.
Thanks for the laugh John.
You need to understand that
1. You do not speak for America, only yourself.
2. Do not presume to know anything about me, or for that matter, anyone but yourself.
3. Your narrow, delusional view of this Nation is WRONG.
First, I think John needs to pull himself out from whatever house he's been living under and turn on some current News.
2nd, People have gotten a pretty good view of what the Tea Party candidates will do with their "power". They've seen it in DC, in Wisconsin, in Arizona, in MANY other states where voters elected people based on their emotion instead of rational thought. As a result the Tea Party has pretty much done itself in. They have irritated MANY people and independents are not happy with them.
SO yeah...Republicans keep touting the tea partiers and we'll see where it gets you.
People used to talk about GWB's "bubble" where only what he wanted was allowed in terms of thoughts and facts. I think what's happening is the Tea Party has formed their own little bubble and we're watching it contract continually and with increasing speed. The question is, when it gets to criticality, will it simply collapse in on itself and be forgotten or will it turn into a super-nova of anti-intelectual fervor where Right-thinking becomes as normal as nonsense Left-speak (read: Political Correctness). Facts are facts. Unfortunately the media, and certain purveyors in particular, seem to have decided to pretend otherwise. We haven't seen "The Big Lie" so dramatically since the 1940s. During the 2008 election cycle we had a huge to-do about then-cantidate Obama's CHRISTIAN minister making inapropriate remarks... and here we are not three years later and nearly half of registered Republicans and a significant majority of Tea Party members think he's SECRETLY a Muslim?! And I'm an Elitist for asking them how they can so successfully perform Orwell's "Double-Think". (If you don't get the reference, it's a book called 1984, which has some disturbing parallels to what's going on these days.)
OK. Straight-up John: you are a MORON.