Marching Down Pennsylvania Avenue

ABC News’ Yunji de Nies Reports:

The 912 Marchers certainly made a splash in Washington. With costumes, signs and a bevy of American flags, they gathered at Freedom Plaza Saturday morning, before descending down Pennsylvania Avenue. Washington, D.C., officials estimate between 60,000 and 75,000 people attended the day-long event, which ended with a rally at the Capitol steps.

They came from around the country. Stephanie Crise and her family flew in from Dallas, Texas. Her elementary school-aged daughter was dressed as lady liberty and carried a sign that read “Stop Spending my Future.” Crise wore a large “Uncle Sam” hat and had her own sign with the message “Turn back to God and our Constitution.”

“We're true hot blooded Americans and concerned about what's going on in our government,” Crise said. “We’re worried about the spending. We’re worried the corruption that’s happening. We’re worried the lies we’re getting.”

The groups mistrust of seemingly anyone in public office -- spare Congressman Joe Wilson -- was evidenced on signs throughout, lambasting Democrats from Senators Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, to the first lady and of course, President Obama himself.

“Every Democratic politician is working for the mafia,” said Charles Sherwood, as he handed out American flags. “The Democrats are destroying the country.”

Michael Gibbs, who arrived from Ohio, shouted that the President should “Go back to Kenya!” and repeatedly chanted that Mr. Obama was a “communist.” Gibbs, who is presumably not related to the President’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, held a large banner, declaring: “If it sounds like Marx and acts like Stalin, it’s probably Obama.”

Gibbs explained, “I believe he's not only a communist but you just have to look at the people he's brought in as czars. And look at the things he's doing. He wants to control everything.”

Some signs seemed downright cruel, one declared “Bury ObamaCare with Kennedy,” a reference to the recent death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who championed health care reform throughout his political life.

But most in the crowd insisted that they’re not extremist.

“We've been mischaracterized as a mob, as terrorist, as racists, gangsters, as any other negative name that you could come up with, when really we're just Americans who are fed up,” said Darren Inge of Texas.

Many seemed surprised that ABC News was there to cover the event and some asked why the “All Barack Channel” would bother to show up.

The marchers’ message was aimed squarely at the President, but his helicopter flying overhead was as close as they came to any direct contact. Mr. Obama held a health care rally of his own, thousands of miles away in Minneapolis.

There, he told a much more supportive crowd to join him in the fight for health care reform.

“It begins with you sharing your stories, fighting for something better, that's how change happens,” he said. “I don't know if you agree with me, but I think the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the time for action. Now is the time to deliver on health care for every American.”

The White House had no comment on the rally in Washington. An aide instead referred reporters back to the president’s own rally, “as that was the focus of his effort to reform the health insurance system Saturday.”

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...