They’re both populist, grass-roots, anti-Washington movements, determined to challenge conventional wisdom and the powers that be. But for veterans of the 2-year-old tea party movement, the parallels to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement now occupying the media spotlight end right there.

Tea party leaders are openly rejecting attempts to liken the Occupy Wall Street protest to their movement, saying that the two groups are heading in opposite directions.

While tea partyers say they yearn for the nation to return to its founding principles, Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest such groups in the nation, said the Occupy protesters in New York, Washington and other cities across the country “severely dislike our country’s founding principles.”

“We’re a country founded, from an economic system point of view, on free-market capitalism,” Mr. Meckler said. “These folks are intensely offended by free-market capitalism.”

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