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Tea Partiers Prepare for Washington Onslaught

Congress may be out for another few weeks, but that will not stop supporters of the anti-tax tea party movement from coming to Washington to protest the Democratic agenda.

The major event will take place Saturday as thousands of supporters of Fox News host Glenn Beck and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) are expected to converge on the Lincoln Memorial for a “Restoring Honor” rally.
The permit for the event estimates that about 300,000 people will attend, according to the National Park Service office of public affairs. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Beck’s website noted that several video screens and “sound towers will be placed along the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and on the grounds of the Washington Monument” for attendees to watch the rally.

The event is meant to be “non-political” and is not affiliated with any partisan or issue-oriented movements, according to Beck’s website.

“Not only is the event non-political, we have continuously encouraged those attending to avoid bringing political signs, political flyers, ‘I heart the RNC’ t-shirts and other similar partisan paraphernalia,” a media document on Beck’s site said. “There are plenty of opportunities to talk about politics. This isn’t one of them.”

But at least two groups involved with the tea party movement are holding meetings this weekend and will likely make up part of the crowd at the Beck event.

One of those groups, Americans for Prosperity, will hold its fourth annual Defending the American Dream Summit on Friday and Saturday at the Marriott Wardman Park. The summit will include a series of seminars and speakers on grass-roots mobilization, free market policies and the flaws of the Democratic agenda.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell as well as conservative columnists Dick Morris and George Will are three of several speakers who are expected to address the summit, according to the event’s schedule.

On Saturday, attendees will be bused to the Beck rally.

Also on Friday, FreedomWorks will hold a more politically focused event at DAR Constitution Hall called the Take America Back 2010 Convention.

Attendees will receive briefings on FreedomWorks’ endorsements in the 2010 midterm elections and hear speeches by several of the group’s top candidates and high-profile supporters.

Speakers at FreedomWorks’ convention include former Majority Leader and FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey (R-Texas), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Utah Senatorial candidate Mike Lee as well as Republican Congressional candidates Charles Lollar (Md.), Mick Mulvaney (S.C.) and Morgan Philpot (Utah).

The Beck event drew criticism from some civil rights leaders for holding the rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the 46th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

A statement in Beck’s media document dismissed the criticism and said that organizers did not realize the event fell on the anniversary until it was reported in the media.

The Rev. Al Sharpton will lead a Reclaim the Dream March starting at 11 a.m. at Dunbar Senior High School in northwest D.C. to the King Memorial on the Tidal Basin.

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