Tea Party Activists Unveil 'Contract from America'

"(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)."

One item conspicuously absent from the list is term limits.

Back in February, when ABC News first reported that the contract was in development, Hecker pointed to congressional term limits as the type of proposal that Tea Party activists would likely put in their contract that established politicians would not include in the official Republican Party agenda that is being developed by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

"It actually didn't make the top 10 in voting," Hecker told ABC News. "It placed 11th. I can't explain why it didn't make it. I'm guessing that it was a more divisive issue than others on the voting list. While my personal top 10 list had term limits, we obviously have to follow the vote."

Hecker said he came up with the contract idea shortly after Barack Obama was elected president in November 2008. Hecker, a 29-year old lawyer from Houston, spent the 2008 GOP primaries working as an opposition researcher for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.

To get his idea off the ground, he launched a Web site, "ContractFromAmerica.com," which encouraged activists to offer possible planks for the contract.

From the original 1,000 ideas that were submitted, Hecker whittled it down to about 50 based on popularity. He then narrowed the list down to 21. He was aided in this process by former House Republican Leader Dick Armey, whose conservative group, FreedomWorks, is the sponsor of Thursday's event at the Washington Monument.

The Contract From America, which was inspired by Newt Gingrich's 1994 Contract for America, has Gingrich's backing, and Hecker said he is proud to have it. He noted, however, that the new contract differs from the 1994 contract in that it used online balloting.

"These are principles and ideas every candidate for office should make part of their campaign," Gingrich told ABC News in a statement when asked about the Contract from America. "They are even more powerful because they are generated from the people."

Thursday's unveiling of the Tea Party contract comes at a time when Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former national Republican Party chairman who currently chairs the Republican Governors Association, is imploring his fellow Republicans to embrace Tea Party activists.

"How do we win in 2010?" Barbour asked the Southern Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend. "We stick together."

"The Democrats' fondest hope is to see the Tea Party or other conservatives split off and start a third party," Barbour said. "Barack Obama is ... praying for the conservative vote to be split in 2010. We can't let that happen. We've got to stay unified."

The "Contract From America" came under harsh criticism on Wednesday from a Democratic Party spokesman.

"These are bumper sticker slogans -- not a plan," Brad Woodhouse, the communications director of the Democratic National Committee, told ABC News.

"If the Tea Party activists would put aside their rhetoric and rage long enough to look at facts, they would see that the president and Democrats have done more for working families, more to reduce the deficit, more to provide tax relief to average Americans, and more to make government work for the middle class in the past 15 months than Republicans did in eight years," Woodhouse said.

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