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New Boston tea party: Sarah Palin leads defensive, defiant crowd

Sarah Palin headlined the Boston 'tea party' Wednesday, where the rallying cry was once again 'taxation without representation.' Attendees wanted to rein in politicians and combat the stereotype that tea partyers are radical and racist.

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“If you look back at the march in Washington, there were 12 to 16 African American speakers that were embraced by the movement,” he says.

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Image still a problem

Still, the image of an angry, white mob mocking a black president – fair or not – remains an issue for the tea party movement.

“I think there’s definitely an effort by some of the leaders and organizers of the events to reduce and eliminate some of this because it’s bad publicity,” says Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta. “It seems they’re trying to set some rules about what signs people can bring. To discourage those kinds of expressions.”

As the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee was introduced, the crowd pressed forward applauding.

Palin accused President Obama of overreaching with his $787 billion economic stimulus program, and she criticized the administration’s health care, student loan, and financial regulatory overhauls.

Palin: 'You can keep the change.'

“Is this what their change is all about?” Palin asked. “I want to tell ‘em, 'Nah, we’ll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion and you can keep the change.' ”

Brenda Taylor from Lexington, Mass., was energized by Palin’s enthusiasm and outlook.

She’d worked on the campaign to elect Scott Brown (R) of Massachusetts to the US Senate, and she saw this as a major turnaround for the traditionally liberal state. (For his part, Senator Brown has kept his distance from the tea party movement, and he did not take part in the Boston event.)

Taylor has been unemployed for the past nine months – the first time she’s been out of work since she was 16. She says she’s disappointed in the current government but has faith in Palin’s ability to rally.

“It’s really a wake-up call to America,” agreed Gayle Jendzejec of Rhode Island.

“We’re going to put government back on our side – the side of the people,” she said. “I’m quite optimistic. If you know where to look, there’s signs of real hope all across this country. Patriots are standing up and speaking out.”