Tour buses that ferried tourists out of the Cherry Blossom festival brought crowds back to the capital for the Tea Party Express rally at the Washington Monument Thursday -- the day our income taxes were due and the epitome of government taxing.
Rally officials hoped President Barack Obama's administration will hear their appeals as the 7-9:30 p.m. event is a stone's throw from the White House.
A press conference was held at 9 a.m. with a "People's Tax Revolt" at 11 a.m. at Freedom Plaza.
On a sun-splashed morning and serenaded by patriotic songs, the protesters streamed to Freedom Plaza to hear exhortations against the political order. The slogans were biting, sometimes raw: "We Want Regime Change," "Save a Seal, Club a Liberal," "Down with the Gov't Takeover," "End the Fed" and "Waterboard Bernanke." Some American flags waved upside down in the breeze.
Earlier during the press conference at the National Press Club, a Tea Party Express handout identified the organization's 2010 election targets for the upcoming House and Senate races.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Col.)
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.)
Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.)
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.)
Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.)
Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.)
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.)
"The Tea Party isn't really a political party," said photojournalist David Lent, who shot a feature news story for Austrian Television on the Tea Party Movement. "It's a voice to the voiceless of people drawn together to express their fear of big government taxing and spending, anti-health care reform and a desire to return to the ideals of the of era of Ronald Reagan."
Sarah Palin is a current hero among Tea Partiers. She spoke to roughly 5,000 at the Tea Party rally in Boston on Wednesday -- home of the original 1773 Tea Party that helped spark the American Revolution. She took a swipe at Obama's stimulus program.
"I want to tell them, 'Naw,'" said Palin, "'you know we'll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion. And you can keep the change.'"
Palin was not scheduled to speak at the D.C. event. And, not surprisingly, neither were any GOP leaders in the House and Senate. They weren't invited to speak, but the following Republicans were, according to The Hill:
- Rep. Tom Price (Ga.)
- Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.)
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.)
- Rep. Steve King (Iowa)
- Rep. Ron Paul (Texas)
- Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.)
Othere Tea Party rallies were held in Maryland and Virginia:
- Rockville: Rockville Town Center, 5 p.m.
- Hagerstown: University Plaza, 3 p.m.
- Frederick: Baley and Hops (MD Rt. 355), 3 p.m.
- Herndon: Fox Mill Fire Station 31, 2610 Reston Parkway, 3-5 p.m.
- Woodbridge: McCoart Administrative Center 1 County Complex Court, noon-2 p.m.
And if you're wondering how Tea Partiers would handle "leftist infiltrators" at their rallies, well, here you go: