Tea party bulling its way into 2012

By MIKE BLOOD and STEVE PEOPLES | September 4, 2011 | 8:55 AM EDT

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin reacts as she walks on stage before speaking to Tea Party members during the Restoring America event, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, in Indianola, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

BERLIN, N.H. (AP) — The tea party is having a big influence on the race for the GOP presidential nomination as the candidates parrot the movement's language and promote its agenda while trying to win its favor.

That's much to the delight of Democrats. They're working to paint the tea party and the eventual nominee as extreme.

Mitt Romney's shift is the latest evidence of the big imprint that the tea party is leaving.

So far he's done little to woo tea party activists. But he's speaking at a Tea Party Express rally in New Hampshire on Sunday. The next day, he's appearing with some of his rivals at a forum in South Carolina that's hosted by GOP Sen. Jim DeMint.

The senator oversees a political committee that has supported tea party candidates.