The Glenn Beck/FreedomWorks 9/12 DC Taxpayer Rally was on Saturday, with conservative Tea Party activists congregating in Washington to protest various things like healthcare reform, federal taxation, government deficit spending, and the President being a Stalinist Nazi Fascist Kenyan Hitler. They drew a healthy-sized crowd, by many accounts much larger than the 30,000 names registered online by FreedomWorks. DCFD estimates are said to be in the 50,000-70,000 range.
Given these numbers it seemed a bit unrealistic for a much-cited article from the right-wing Daily Mail to claim “up to two million.” This AP photo does show an impressive crowd gathered from the edge of the Capitol Lower Terrace to just west of East Capitol Circle/1st St NW/SW, filling up the entire Capitol lawn:
Here’s some shaky video of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s hearse and procession leaving the Capitol to go down Constitution Ave. to Arlington Cemetery. Hundreds of people lined the lawn and sidewalk, with Kennedy’s staff and colleagues on the Senate steps. As the hearse left the driveway a wave of cheering and applause swept through the crowd, with some waving a final goodbye.
With most of Union Station’s Grand Hall reserved for tonight’s inaugural ball, and the Metro station and rail concourse already packed to capacity, the crowd entering Union Station had to be divided into Metro, Amtrak, and MARC/VRE riders. Confusion reigned outside as the Columbus Circle road was closed off, forcing people to circle around sidewalks and fences and clumps of National Guard and MPD personnel.
The Obama Express has arrived! Union Station was a circus tonight — thousands of people clogging the Grand Hall and concourse hoping to catch a glimpse of the president-elect at the end of his whistle-stop tour, with memorabilia vendors hawking their wares at every corner. Sadly, as indicated on Union Station’s website, the arrival was not meant to be a public event. The president-elect and all his travelling companions boarded their motorcade directly from the platform area, skipping over the concourse and heading straight for Blair House.