Twin Rallies on the National Mall - NBC4 Washington

Twin Rallies on the National Mall



    1:22 p.m. Paris Hilton was arrested for cocaine possession, or something? So did she just prove Beck's whole point?

    1:14 p.m. Whoa. Beck raised $5.5 million this morning?

    1:04 p.m. Beck chokes up, maybe, while talking about the young future George Washington who may be out in the crowd listening.

    12:57 p.m. "It must be a big crowd, because they violated air space to get a shot of it," talking about a media chopper overhead. Wasn't ours!

    Rev. Al Sharpton Kicks Off Rally and March

    [DC] Rev. Al Sharpton Kicks Off Rally and March
    News4's John Schriffen spoke with people who attended the "Reclaim the March" rally.
    (Published Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010)

    12:55 p.m. He is losing some coherency. He just said something like (and this isn't an exact quote), "We must go to God boot camp so we can straight ourselves out and tgo out into the rest of the world and guide them down the stairs and out to safety."

    12:34 p.m. "The poorest among us are some of the richest in the world." Glenn Beck is talking about what bad shape America is in.

    12:26 p.m. Beck says that of Washington, Lincoln, and MLK, he can relate to MLK best.

    Glenn Beck Takes the Mall

    [DC] Glenn Beck Takes the Mall
    "Restoring Honor" comes to the Lincoln Memorial
    (Published Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010)

    12:14 p.m. Beck says the Washington Monument is "scarred." Its construction was in fact stopped by the Know-Nothing Party and resumed after the Civil War by the Army Corps of Engineers, who used a different quality of stone. I don't know about "scarred" -- more like "gamed by politics."

    12:12 p.m. Beck knocks the media with regard to media crowd estimates, but endorses and repeats the highest estimates of 300,000.

    12:06 p.m. A report from the rally at Sharpton's. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said, "Glenn Beck's march will change nothing. But you cant blame, you can't blame Glenn Beck for his March on Washington envy."

    12:06 p.m. "Our material gains seem to be going the way of our moral losses." --Alveda King. Her speech was very political, connecting economic straits to gay marriage and abortion and other social factors. The implication is that God is punishing the United States of America for specific freedoms.

    12:00 p.m. Big cheers for anti-gay marriage and anti-choice message in Alveda King's speech.

    11:49 a.m. Musical interlude means I can catch up on other stories!

    11:37 a.m. Philanthropist Jon Huntsman nabs the Beck Purple Heart for charity.

    11:22 a.m. So rooting for the Nationals tonight against the Cardinals is rooting against hope?

    11:21 a.m. Tony La Russa introduces Glenn Beck's Purple Heart for hope . . . which goes to the Cardinals' Albert Pujols?

    11:04 a.m. Glenn Beck gives his first Purple Heart (for faith) to Rev. Jackson of Pleasant Grove Missionary Church of Houston, Texas.

    10:55 a.m. Back to Beck. He says that when he conceived of this event, "In my head, I thought [this rally] was supposed to be political." He is giving a wide-ranging speech about charity, the Purple Heart, and George Washington.

    10:50 a.m. Palin gives a shoutout to her old would-be boss Sen. John McCain during remarks about soldiers who suffered at the Hanoi Hilton.

    10:39 a.m. Sarah Palin says she has not been asked to speak here as a political leader, but as a mother of a soldier. "Say what you want about me, but I've raised a combat vet, and you can't take that away from me." She sounds persecuted but does not say who is trying to take something from her.

    10:35 a.m. Sarah Palin is speaking. She's speaking more directly to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and about President Abraham Lincoln than Beck did.

    10:34 a.m. Glenn Beck is asking attendees to text "sowf" to 85944 to donate $10 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

    10:10 a.m. "A democracy is, amongst civil nations, accounted the meanest and worst of all forms of government." That's a lesser-known quote from John Winthrop, who is a conservative favorite (today and any other day). 

    With both "Restoring Honor" and "Reclaim the Dream" visiting Washington today, it's a weekend for inspiration. But does inspiration have a political affiliation?

    "They keep saying this is a political event, and it is not. It is not a political event at all," said FOX News personality and conservative icon Glenn Beck, speaking on the eve of his "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial. Beck is hosting a rally on the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech at the site where he delivered the speech -- a decision that, if not an explicit kind of politics itself, has thrust the politics of Beck and his followers into the spotlight.

    On Friday, Beck suggested Rev. Al Sharpton cancel the "Reclaim the Dream" rally, which Beck has described as a counter rally to his own. Rev. Sharpton's National Action Network, along with the National Urban League and other civil rights groups, staged the rally at Dunbar High School, where Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Martin Luther King III, before leading a march to the grounds of the MLK Memorial on the National Mall.

    Speakers at Rev. Sharpton's rally expressed that there is still work yet to be done to achieve MLK's dream of equality. And they pushed back in a fiery way against Beck and his supporters, who they say were trying to claim MLK's legacy for their own -- when their politics are dissimilar.

    "Glenn Beck's march will change nothing," said Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. "But you cant blame Glenn Beck for his March on Washington envy."

    D.C. politics were on prominent display at Rev. Sharpton's "Reclaim the Dream" rally. Both D.C. Council Chair and mayoral candidate Vince Gray and incumbent D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty spoke. When Mayor Fenty spoke, however, he was treated to boos from the entire crowd -- perhaps the greatest incivility of the day.

    Beck's plea to Sharpton may have been merely rhetorical. But Beck's claim that it is only a coincidence that his "Restoring Honor" rally is being held at the same site and on the same date as MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech sounds like rhetoric. Beck and his guests spoke at length about MLK and his legacy. And there is an unambiguous resemblance between the themes and language Beck has used to describe his rally and MLK's homily.

     "This is the beginning of the end of darkness," the pundit said at a Friday night preview event at the Kennedy Center, drawing a chorus of a-mens. "We have been in darkness for a long time."

    The rally has disclaimed Tea Party or any other affiliation. Yet the keynote speaker for the event is former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a figure beloved among the Tea Party activists and a potential 2012 presidential candidate.

    Political signs, however, are largely absent today from the rally gathering on the National Mall, as the organizers of the rally asked attendees to leave them home. The "Don't Tread on Me" flag, which has been widely appropriated by the Tea Party, is evident everywhere.

    Last year, a Tea Party rally on 9/12 was marked by signs decrying Democrats, especially President Barack Obama, as well as "Don't Tread on Me" flags and even Confederate flags.

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    GETTING THERE:Rallies, Marches Mean Weekend Street Closures