Crowds Pack Downtown D.C. To Protest Spending Tens of thousands of people marched to the U.S. Capitol on Saturday to protest President Obama's health care plan and what they say is out-of-control spending. Demonstrators from across the country descended on Washington to express their displeasure.
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Crowds Pack Downtown D.C. To Protest Spending

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Crowds Pack Downtown D.C. To Protest Spending

Crowds Pack Downtown D.C. To Protest Spending

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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GUY RAZ, host:

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Washington today against the president's agenda. The protest capped a series of conservative Tea Party rallies.

NPR's Allison Keyes has the story.

(Soundbite of protest)

ALLISON KEYES: As the demonstrators walked along Pennsylvania Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol, the line stretched as far as the eye could see in either direction. The crowd was so thick in places, it was difficult to move around.

People like Jenni Goyet(ph), a mother of two from Virginia Beach, Virginia, say they are here for a whole range of issues.

Ms. JENNI GOYET: The health care for one, government spending all of our money on stuff that we're not approving them to spend it on. I've got a 7- and a 4-year-old, and they've got a ton of debt already, and they shouldn't have that.

KEYES: There was a carnival atmosphere. Many people brought their children, strollers, dogs and folding chairs. But there was also a strong undercurrent of anger, from people like Goyet's mother, Dedi Rapp(ph).

Ms. DEDI RAPP: I want them to leave us alone. They work for us. We are not their servant, they're our servants, and we are going to vote them all out.

KEYES: Repp and Goyet, like many in this crowd, wore yellow t-shirts with the logo: Don't tread on me, a slogan first used as a cry for liberty in the Revolutionary War against England. Others in the crowd carried signs depicting President Obama made up like the evil villain The Joker from Batman villain, banners describing Obama as a socialist, fliers calling the president a liar; and perhaps most ominously for the Democratic Party, signs reading November 2010, a reference to the upcoming midterm elections that people like Dan Van Vleet(ph) hope will mean more conservatives in office.

Mr. DAN VAN VLEET: And I hope everybody shows up to vote. Maybe we can change a little bit of what's going on.

KEYES: Teenager Hannah Hnida(ph), from Youngstown, Ohio, came with her grandparents to protest the growing deficit.

Ms. HANNAH HNIDA: The only way that you can have a balanced government is to spend less than what you earn.

KEYES: As diverse as the crowd seemed to be in age and geography, I saw only a handful of African-Americans and other people of color in the crowd. But Chicagoan Terryll Nemeth(ph), a black woman, is dismissive of anyone who suggests race is a factor in these demonstrations against the nation's first African-American president.

Ms. TERRYLL NEMETH: I would never vote for anybody that has the agenda that he has. I don't care what color they are.

KEYES: From tort reform to term limits to ire over bailout of the auto and banking industries, protesters say their dissatisfaction goes far beyond health care reform.

Allison Keyes, NPR News, Washington.

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