TAMPA, Fla. — The "Tea Party" band — which energized and even seemed to overtake the Republican Party in 2010 — has been virtually invisible at this Republican National Convention.
Not a single one of the 38 speakers during the convention's key prime time hours has even mentioned the phrase, according to an examination of their transcripts — a sign both of Romney's own distance from the movement and that polls have suggested that voters view the movement negatively.
Senator Rand Paul, another Tea Party favorite, didn't mention it at all.
One major speaker, texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, did allude to the Tea Party directly, though he referred to it only as a "great awakening":
Since 2010, something extraordinary has been happening, something that has dumbfounded the chattering class.
“It began here in Florida in 2010. In Utah, Kentucky, Pennsylvania. “Was repeated this summer in Indiana. Nebraska. Wisconsin. “And this past month, in the Lone Star State, Texas.
“What is happening all across America is a Great Awakening.
“A response to career politicians in both parties who’ve gotten us into this mess.
“This national movement is fueled by what unites us: a love of liberty, a belief in the unlimited potential of free men and women."
It's a striking absence for a movement that has grown from a series of protests to a legitimate faction of the Republican Party, with many representatives in Congress and in state governments.
The Romney campaign approves all of the remarks ahead of time and oversees the choice of speakers. A Romney spokeswoman didn't respond to a request for comment about the absence of Tea Party mentions.