'Tax day' a boon for prez contenders' face time
People fill out forms and wait in line at a downtown Manhattan post office on the final day of tax season April 15, 2010 in New York City.
March 23rd, 2011
05:30 AM ET
9 years ago

'Tax day' a boon for prez contenders' face time

Washington (CNN) - For some Americans, D-Day is "Tax Day."

April 15 is traditionally a date of national importance, as many Americans rush to beat the deadline for filing tax returns. Now the date has taken on a new political importance.

For many conservatives, April 15 has become a day to protest taxes they deem too high and government, they feel, has run amok. This year, with presidential contenders jockeying for attention, many contenders are likely poring over their schedules to assess where they'll get media exposure and face time with conservative voters.

This year's actual tax return filing deadline has been extended to April 18, a Monday. But conservative activists are still planning to rally on Friday the 15th and over that weekend.

Potential presidential candidates are still firming up their plans. CNN contacted staffs for several presidential contenders to assess where they may be on April 15.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will rally the masses at a Tea Party-type rally in Concord, New Hampshire, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity.

Conservative radio talk show host Herman Cain will join them at that event. But the former Godfather's Pizza CEO will also get more face time with activists by appearing at a rally in Orlando that evening. Cain will be joined by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and longtime conservative activist Ralph Reed of the National Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann will attend a fundraiser in the evening in South Carolina, home of the first Southern GOP presidential primary. She will also attend other events in the Palmetto State, over the weekend, to mark the "Tax Day" protests.

Rep. Ron Paul is a popular figure at many Tea Party-type rallies on "Tax Day." According to a spokesman, he's besieged with requests to attend various events.

"He's received a couple of really intriguing invitations and he has yet to decide where he's going to be," Jesse Benton told CNN. Benton serves as the Texas lawmaker's political director.

"He's been invited to New Hampshire, he's been invited to Iowa, he's been invited to at least 10 states," Benton continued, citing invites from Florida, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Arizona and Texas.

"You can generalize them as Tea Party [invites]. I think, a lot of times, the folks that self identify as Tea Parties have kind of fused themselves with the traditional folks that get out and want to raise awareness on Tax Day," Benton added.

While those presidential contenders have firm plans for the day, others appear to recognize the day's importance to conservatives. And yet, some of the potential candidates are undecided while at least two have as yet decided against attending any events.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is not planning to attend any rallies. Instead, he'll be in New York taping for his show on Fox News.

"I have every confidence, I'm sure, he'll be bringing it up on his show. It's just too big of a day not too," Hogan Gidley told CNN. Gidley is the executive director of HuckPac - Huckabee's political action committee.

Similarly, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is not committed to any "Tax Day" events.

"Right now, there are no plans to participate in any of those rallies," the governor's Deputy Press Secretary Jake Oakman told CNN. "But of course, that could change as we get closer to that date."

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's whereabouts on the all-important "Tax Day" are still being worked out.

"We haven't announced our schedule for that week yet," Paul Hurst, the governor's chief of staff, told CNN in an email.

Donald Trump often travels to Florida on weekends for other commitments and could do the same on the "Tax Day" weekend.

CNN also reached out to aides for other potential 2012 candidates: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. CNN did not receive a response to questions regarding their plans for the day that's all-important for many conservatives.

FreedomWorks has been a prime organizer of the "Tax Day" rallies that Tea Party groups began in April 2009. This year, the group is not planning a mass rally in Washington D.C., instead focusing on local events in various states.

Brendan Steinhauser, the group's director of federal and state campaigns, does not speak for any presidential contenders. Yet he predicts they will be involved on "Tax Day."

"There's no doubt in my mind that…Newt [Gingrich] and Palin and all these guys will be somewhere at some rally speaking," Steinhauser told CNN.

"I'm sure they're kind of waiting to see what their schedules look like and what the best opportunity is – biggest event, lot of media exposure in key states."

- Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Taxes
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. obama retoric

    quit talking about it and do something, We Are Still Looking For JOBS, you guys and rib and tater pobama are all talk, let real people create jobs instead of you guys blowing smoke.

    March 23, 2011 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  2. Indy

    Instead of touring the states these conservatives should leave people alone during tax time so they can get their taxes done. The conservatives can tell their lies any day they want, so why not be patriotic for one day and let people do their taxes. I am sure the right wingers will be out there in full force getting as many people as possbile frustrated and mad enough to not pay their taxes, which is very un patriotic. It is the conservative way to hate your government and I am sure the likes of Palin, Bachmann,Trump, Barbour, Pawlenty will be out there promoting hate across the country.

    March 23, 2011 07:24 am at 7:24 am |

    CNN – where are all of the stories about the "Obama Ghraib" situation in Afghanistan?? You had daily headline coverage of the much more benign Abu Ghraib for weeks on end. Unbelievable. State run media is doing a great job controlling content and propping up our puppet president.

    March 23, 2011 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  4. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared war on YOU!

    More political posturing from a group of psychopaths who care nothing for the poor, the middle class, workers or the environment.

    March 23, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  5. d

    Do you think they'll be honest and admit that taxes are lower under Obama than they were under Bush? Nah, doesn't fit with their narrative (i.e., their lie) that Obama has raised taxes on all of us to finance his big government initiatives. The government isn't any bigger than it was in 2008, and that massive national debt should be proof enough that we're not financing it. But hey, why let the truth get in the way of the White House?

    March 23, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    They all think the government can run without spending any money. I wonder how they figure that one. I guess they looked at the spending the GOP controlled Congress and White House did in the early 2000's. They spent with abandon on things that weren't immediately needed. What happened to being fiscally conservative? If that was indeed the case, then George W(oman) Bush wouldn't have cut taxes so that excess money could have reduced the debt and vetoed larger than needed spending bills.

    March 23, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. bo-D

    Funny the only tax was for the rich 1 percent to get tax breaks stupid tea party people you people can't be serious you vote rep why please give me a reason they're using you because your hate obama the black man in the white house I remember when he was running for potus people had stuffed monkeys this country is do

    March 23, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. bo-D

    This country is doin a lot better not losing 700,000 jobs a month so be happy the black brought you out from that tea party fools rep are for the rich stupid they weren't fightin for you to get tax breaks I mean come on

    March 23, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  9. james Miller

    This country has gone to Hell !!!!! It is becoming more a nation of "haves and have nots" Personally I don`t wish to roll back the clock to the "good old days" when our precious Constitution was written as some think they want to do. Slaves were considered chattle ( sub humans), and the Bill of Rights was written later and added as were the amendments to the Constitution. Indians were slaughtered and we took their land under Law of Imminant Domain and women were FINALLY given the right to vote, etc., etc., etc. --So don`t preach to me about the "good ole days". Those that preach this are highly selective about which part they want to adhere too.

    March 23, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. America Shrugged

    Taxes are at their lowest in 60 yrs, yet here we are...High unemployment, fascist run states rushing in to take away bargaining rights of public workers, high unemployment, lowest taxes in 60 yrs, massive outsourcing still going on, high unemployment, federal and state budgets facing austerity, lowest taxes in 60 yrs, high unemployment. I'm not figuring out what the hell these tea partiers want other than the corporations to run everything, roads, schools, libraries, law enforcement, public works, etc.. If that doesn't scare you more than your local, state and federal governments collecting taxes so that everyone can enjoy the civility paying taxes creates in our country, then by all means vote for tea party candidates.. Next is your medicare and SS...Think it won't happen?

    March 23, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Dean

    Time for tax reform.......12% on gross income period. No exepmtions, no limits, no refunds, nothing just 12% of gross income for everyone, rich poor, legal, illegal, everyone who gets money, inheritance, capital gains, nothing for losses, just 12% on everything earned for everyone.

    March 23, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |