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Tea party day, 2010

A year ago, the April 15 tea parties were a curiosity, promoted heavily by Fox News but eyed curiously by Republicans and reporters. Today, the hundreds of rallies happening nationwide will be a media and political sensation. There are, for example, at least 14 tea parties happening in Virginia, and former senator George Allen -- who's been raising his political profile as the 2012 elections loom -- will speak at three of them. In 2009, the headliner at the Washington, D.C. tea party was Alan Keyes. Today, D.C. attendees will be addressed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and Andrew Breitbart, and they'll witness the unveiling of the Contract from America, a ten-point manifesto for candidates to sign onto, with items decided by an online vote that's been going on all year.

I'll be attending events in Virginia and Washington, with updates here and on Twitter throughout the day. One thing I'm watching is the rumor of an "exit poll" of tea partiers being conducted in D.C. What else should I be on the lookout for?

After the jump, read the 10 items that made it into the Contract from America. The amount of support garnered by the items is in parentheses.

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(1) Protect the Constitution: Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does (82.03 percent).

(2) Reject Cap & Trade: Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumers prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures (72.20 percent).

(3) Demand a Balanced Budget: Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69 percent)

(4) Enact Fundamental Tax Reform: Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words -- the length of the original Constitution. (64.90 percent).

(5) Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington: Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the U.S. Constitution's meaning. (63.37 percent)

(6) End Runaway Government Spending: Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57 percent).

(7) Defund, Repeal & Replace Government-run Health Care: Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn't restricted by state boundaries. (56.39 percent).

(8) Pass an 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Policy: Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51 percent).

(9) Stop the Pork: Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47 percent).

(10) Stop the Tax Hikes: Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38 percent).

By David Weigel  |  April 15, 2010; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  Tea Party  | Tags: Alan Keyes, Andrew Breitbart, George Allen, Republican, Ron Paul, United States, Virginia, Washington  
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Next: Poll: Tea partiers miss Bush, like the GOP, don't want a third party, and wonder where Obama was born

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