Tea party faithful rally in the rain. Their message to Congress: Get tough.
Tea party supporters from around the country demanded Republicans keep their promise to cut the budget. Democrats and 'liberals' were the target of their ire, but the GOP leadership wasn't spared.
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Several House freshmen tea partyers – including Reps. Raul Labrador (R) of Idaho, Joe Walsh (R) of Illinois, and Allen West (R) of Florida – also spoke, to big applause. Another high point came when the top Senate tea partyers – Jim DeMint of South Carolina and freshman Rand Paul of Kentucky – appeared, unannounced.
Still, given the roadblock in the Democratic-controlled Senate, it doesn’t look as if the tea party is going to get the spending cuts it wants. And so the movement is already looking ahead to the next election, its next opportunity to boost its ranks in Washington.
On the nascent 2012 presidential race, tea partyers interviewed at Thursday’s rally were all over the map. One attendee from Washington, D.C., who declined to give his name, said he was initially excited about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), but was now interested in billionaire Donald Trump, because of his focus on President Obama’s birth certificate.
Janet Cook of Pittsburgh said she liked Pence or DeMint for president, but neither is running. So now she’s considering Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota. “He’s proven he’s a true conservative in the way he’s governed,” she said. “Bachmann and Palin are too polarizing to get elected.”
But Palin and Bachmann are the top picks of Dale McCoy, an electrical foreman at a manufacturing plant in Pittsburgh. “They are strong enough and intelligent enough to stand up for our core values and our principles and they articulate them well,” he says. Ultimately, though, he leans more toward Bachmann, “since the left has done so much damage to Palin.”