Tea party protesters braved some very uncooperative weather Wednesday to join a tax day tea party in a park next to the White House in Washington, D.C. Several hundred protesters (an event organizer tallied no fewer than 1,500 attendees) withstanding driving rain to chant slogans and wave signs decrying government spending and taxes.
"Hell no, we won't pay!" they chanted.
"I'm here to protest the spending and the taxes and the government running the private affairs of private industries," said Steve, 51, a computer programmer who took the day off to drive from Northern Virginia and pay "a big chunk of money" to park in a downtown garage. "I'm here to protest the bailing out of companies when they should be going bankrupt."
Steve came prepared. He'd waterproofed his sign, which depicted 1990s sitcom icon Steve Urkel saying "Did I do that?" next to a downward-sloping stock market graph. The other side of his placard showed Obama with a long Pinocchio nose.
Rain aside, the event hit a few snags. The original plan had been to dump a million teabags onto the ground, but authorities shot that down. There was also supposed to be a second event outside the Treasury department, but authorities said no to that as well. Chalk it up to the fickle D.C. police department.
"We thought we had a permit but then they were like, 'No, you don't,'" says organizer J. Peter Freire.
Many tea partiers stressed that they were not attacking the administration from the Right.
"My sign is non-partisan," said Jill, who took a day off from her job in the insurance industry to commute from Woodbridge, Virginia. Her sign said she was registered to vote and that Congress was in trouble. "I'm hoping this is a non-partisan event."
Another non-partisan attendee, 29-year-old Abraham Mudrick, says he flew in from Oregon just for the tea party. "There were plenty of tea parties in Oregon, but I wanted to be in the belly of the beast," he told the Huffington Post.
Freire told the Huffington Post that while famous types like Alan Keyes were scheduled to speak at the event, they were given not given better billing than regular folks who wanted to talk. At one point, a speaker yelled out, "To hell with the Left!"
The crowd responded with a chant: "USA! USA! USA!"