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On Sunday, for the second year in a row, former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks organization hosted a 9/12 March on Washington in Washington, D.C. The focus of this year’s political rally was on the Contract From America, a plan FreedomWorks has been asking politicians to sign and pledge to follow. The Contract is aimed at reducing spending and government involvement in people’s lives.
“It always boils down to one thing: we need to get the government to understand its limitations, reduce its size and reduce its burden on the economy,” Armey said.
Houston Tea Partier Ryan Hecker wrote the Contract From America and told The Daily Caller he’s amazed at all the people who came out to the 9/12 rally, even though it was a rainy day in the District.
“It’s incredible [to see all these people out here],” Hecker said. “It just goes to show that we’re going to stand up for what we believe in and that we’re not going away.”
FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe estimated the crowd size at around 100,000 Tea Partiers, a crowd smaller than last year’s march, something he said may be partly attributable to the fact several 9/12 rallies were going on simultaneously nationwide and that Fox News personality Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally was held in Washington at the end of August.
“There’s 9/12 events all over the country today, and, in a lot of ways, that’s the ultimate success, because we want folks to bring it back to local communities,” Kibbe told TheDC. “But, we still have north of 100,000 people here. This is a big crowd of people.”
Blogger and media personality Andrew Breitbart told TheDC that he’s upset with how the media portrays Tea Partiers, and expects more of the same rhetoric from the media covering the rally.
“They [Tea Partiers] withstood four seasons of nonstop attack from the media class to cast dispersions on them of the worst possible kind,” Breitbart said. “They’ve learned the great trick is that the bullets that the media shoot at you are lollipops. You just grab them in the middle of the air and start sucking on them.”
Breitbart said the mainstream media has regularly tried to “sway the American public,” but the Tea Party movement resembles a “great political awakening” and a “great media awakening,” even though he highly doubts the mainstream media will report fairly on the 9/12 rally.
“F**k the media,” Breitbart declared to TheDC, right before taking the stage to speak to the crowd.
At the U.S. Capitol building, the rally’s speakers called for more accountability in government, less spending and more fiscal responsibility – as well as for more fairness in the media.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli spoke at the event, too, focusing on what the country and his state need to do to cut spending and fight health care reform.
He told TheDC the point of his speech was to “educate people about what’s going on in the health care case and about the contest between states and the federal government.”
“States didn’t bring it on, the federal government did, and we’re not going to sit idly by and watch them violate the Constitution,” Cuccinelli said about the need to fight the new health care law. “There’s a real opportunity for a really explosive situation November 2.”
The day’s festivities began with the Rev. C.L. Bryant holding a non-denominational prayer session at the Washington Monument, where Tea Partiers gathered for their march to the Capitol building.
Bryant told TheDC that come November 2, “you’re going to see a tidal wave, you’re going to see a tsunami wash through Washington, D.C. I would not be surprised if both Houses are taken over by conservatives.”
While marching down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Washington Monument to the rally site, with the Capitol building in sight, marchers chanted, “Can you hear us now, Nancy Pelosi?” and “Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey, hey, good-bye!” among other anti-establishment chants.
Two of the event’s speakers, Tito Munoz and Ana Puig, immigrated, legally, to the United States from South America. They both said they’re disgusted with how President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are governing the nation they moved to for a freer and more prosperous life.
“We need to elect the right people in November and then fight the indoctrination down the road,” Puig, who was representing Pennsylvania’s Kitchen Table Patriots, said. “We need to change what’s going on down at the school levels because those are future voters.”
Puig has four children and said America’s schools aren’t teaching children how to think for themselves.
“The teacher came out and flat out told my kids that the person to vote for was Barack Obama and that the best president in the history of the United States was Jimmy Carter,” Puig said.
Munoz said he’s a part of the Tea Party movement because he doesn’t want the government to have to bail him out.
“I came to America to make it on my own, not to be a burden on the country, the government or the American people,” Munez said.
Shannon Brew, a freshman in college from Jacksonville, Fla. and a member of the First Coast Tea Party, thinks the mainstream media’s portrayal of the Tea Party as an old-people’s movement isn’t even close to accurate.
“The First Coast Tea Party has its own members of the future, and it’s all kids from high school to college,” said Brew, who was at the 9/12 rally with her mom, Kim.
Emily Weaver, a high school senior from Pittsburgh who sang the National Anthem at the rally, agreed with Brew’s assessment.
“Oh no, it’s definitely not just old people [in the Tea Party movement]. I know plenty of classmates back in Pittsburgh who believe what I believe,” she said.