‘Tea Party Express’ Converges On Capitol Hill To Decry Health Bills, Government Spending
News outlets covered the large anti-government protest in Washington today, which included criticism of health care overhaul proposals.
The Associated Press: "Tens of thousands of protesters fed up with government spending marched to the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, showing their disdain for the president's health care plan with slogans such as 'Obamacare makes me sick' and 'I'm not your ATM.' Lawmakers also supported the rally. Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said Americans want health care reform but they don't want a government takeover. 'Republicans, Democrats and independents are stepping up and demanding we put our fiscal house in order,' Pence, of Indiana, told The Associated Press" (Syeed, 9/12).
YouTube has AP video of the event.
Politico: "The overwhelmingly white crowd ranged widely in age, and has been orderly, with no arrests reported. ... 'Ladies and Gentlemen: Welcome to Waterloo!' Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said to the cheering crowd, referencing his July remark that health care reform could be Obama's Waterloo. 'Friends, this is a critical battle for the heart and soul of America, and for freedom itself,' said DeMint. 'Freedom fighters are outnumbered in Congress, but not in America. If you continue to stand up and speak out, we will save freedom in America,'
CNN: "The conservative advocacy group began their trip in Sacramento, California, and made its way across the country, hosting rallies in about 30 cities ... 'What brought everything together was the Obamacare idea, which contains every odiferous objection,' Tea Party Express organizer Mark Williams said in August" (9/12).
Bloomberg: "Today's rally was organized by members of the Tea Party Patriots group and the National Taxpayers Union among other conservative groups and promoted on News Corp.'s Fox News Network by commentator Glenn Beck" (Wolf, 9/12).
The New York Times quoted DeMint: "This is not some kind of radical right-wing group, I just hope the Congress, the Senate and the president recognize that people are afraid of what's going on."
The Times continues: "Mr. DeMint and a handful of Republican members of Congress were the only party leaders on hand for the demonstration. Republican officials said privately that they were pleased by the turnout of the crowd, but also wary of the anger directed at politicians of all stripes. Protesters came by bus, car and airplane, arriving here from Texas and Tennessee, New Mexico and New Hampshire, Ohio and Oregon. The messages on their signs told of an intense distrust of the government, which several people said began long before Mr. Obama took office" (Zeleny, 9/12).
The Washington Post reports that Republicans see the protest as an "opportunity:" "Searching for ways to compete with Democrats after two consecutive electoral drubbings, Republicans have moved past earlier uncertainty about the protesters, who organized nationwide rallies this summer that have threatened Democratic health-care plans and eroded President Obama's standing with the public. ... But top Republican strategists and many party observers also worry about the impact that the most extreme protesters might have on the party's image, including those who carry swastika signs or obsess over the veracity of Obama's Hawaiian birth" (Eggen and Bacon, 9/12).
The Wall Street Journal: "Saturday's rally came just a few months after Mr. Obama's victory seemed to have left the conservative movement in disarray. But in recent weeks, critics of the administration's programs and spending have succeeded in putting Mr. Obama on the defensive, threatening his health-care drive, prompting parents to boycott a routine presidential speech to schoolchildren and forcing the resignation of a White House adviser with a left-leaning past. While the movement has gotten considerable attention, it is unclear just how broad it is" (Sherman, 9/12).