Video: Tea Party rallies on tax day

  1. Closed captioning of: Tea Party rallies on tax day

    >> al, thank you.

    >>> thousands of tea party activists across the country used thursday's tax deadline to rally against what they say are taxes that are too high and a government that is too big. nbc 's kelly o'donnell is in washington with details. kelly , good morning to you.

    >> reporter: good morning, meredith . it's been just about a year and the tea party movement went from what was a grassroots opposition to the bailouts and health care reform , into something much bigger, able to pull off a major political show -- a two-week cross- country series of rallies. tea partiers don't like washington much and some came here to deliver that message in person. from the distance you hear the loud speaker blaring.

    >> we are the tea party movement.

    >> reporter: and see the eye catching signs.

    >> it is basically a little bit of sarcasm.

    >> reporter: but within the crowd, a feeling runs deep.

    >> i love my country and i don't like where it's going. i don't like all this debt.

    >> 99% of all we've got in the tea party are good, hard working people who simply want to have a voice.

    >> reporter: they were heard in big cities like chicago , denver , kansas city , smaller towns like madison , wisconsin , montgomery , alabama, and rochester, new york . and in washington , a tea party favorite -- congresswoman michelle bachmann made their goal clear .

    >> two years from now barack obama is a one-term president!

    >> reporter: 9 out of 10 tea partiers surveyed say the president is not doing a good job.

    >> i'm not expecting to see an obama supporter here anyway.

    >> reporter: saying it is a novelty, rick willmore sells what he calls obama dollars.

    >> yeah, it is a criticism. it is a humerus criticism.

    >> reporter: the cbs news/"new york times" poll found that 18% of americans say they support the tea party . most are married white men over 45 with more formal education and more wealth than average. but the tea party is also retired air force veteran darryl postel.

    >> it is sort of a protest against government sort of infringing upon my right to choose how i want to spend my money , how i want to spend my life.

    >> reporter: the tea's is full of business women like lindsey flowers.

    >> i am a middle of the road person, probably not too far to the right on a number of things, but i do believe that our representatives should listen to us.

    >> reporter: of those surveyed, about 20% who say they believe in the tea party have actually given money to the organization. now it is interesting, most of them said they believe the amount of taxes they pay is fair, and again, many i talked to and many in the survey say they don't really want to see the tea party become some sort of formal party but they want it to have influence over elections and to allow people to be heard . meredith ?

    >> they're doing their best to make sure that happens. kelly o'donnell, thank you very much . 7:17. here's matt.

updated 4/16/2010 3:58:16 PM ET 2010-04-16T19:58:16

“Happy Tax Day,” said Tennessee Rep. Martha Blackburn to a crowd of tea partiers gathered at the Washington Monument Thursday evening. “Do you feel like you're getting your money's worth?”

It was no surprise that the crowd, members of a burgeoning conservative movement unhappy with Congress and the White House, didn’t answer in the affirmative.

Many Tea Party activists say that they're motivated to speak out about fiscal responsibility on behalf of future generations.

“When I first started going to meetings, I immediately liked that everyone was friendly, organized, and genuinely concerned for their children and grandchildren,” said JoAnne Carowick, a homemaker who became involved with the Tea Party in State College, Pa.

Carowick said she worries every time she thinks about her six-year-old grandson and the burden she believes he will face from excessive government spending and high taxes.

“I like that everyone is worried for their children and grandchildren, too,” she said, gesturing to one of the numerous families present at the rally on the National Mall.

Tea Party tax rallies occurred all over the nation on Thursday. Members oppose high taxes, government spending, and what they see as a lack of adherence to the Constitution by a Democrat-led Washington.  Members of the Tea Party say they represent the “average citizen.”

“Look around,” said Ernest Comisac, a retired engineer from Pennsylvania. “When you walk up to people here, they are like your neighbor. They go to work, pay their taxes, try to put their kids through college.”

Joe Vinskey, an employee of the federal government in Dayton, Ohio, said that one of the things that made him become involved with the Tea Party was that it’s a nationwide movement with no leader in Washington to make it “D.C.-centric.”

“They're not trying to start another government party,” Vinskey said. “They are trying to fix what we already have.”

Raymond Tignall, an estimator for a mechanical contractor in Eldersburg, Md., said he and his wife heard of the Tea Party through conservative talk radio.

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“I don't want to be a government-controlled country,” Tignall said. “We're all leaders. We give the government its power. And the Tea Party embodies that.”

“I'm here primarily to support the idea of small government,” added Comisac. “You can't depend on your politicians so how can you allow the government to have this much control?”

Comisac cited the recently-passed health care overhaul bill and the Wall Street bailouts as examples of the government's over-intervention in citizen's lives and the country's economy.

“I want to see non-partisanship in our government,” he said. “Non-partisanship to the point that barely any legislation will be passed, because I hate to say it, but when anything happens in Washington, it's bad.”

Carowick, echoing a sentiment held by many party members, said she thinks the welfare system is out of control.

“I think we do need to help those who have less,” she said. “But the taxes are too much and we aren't seeing any difference in the situations of those less privileged.”

Members at Thursday’s Washington rally decried politicians for failing to listen to constituents.

“The way health care was pushed through was potentially a constitutional crisis,” Vinskey said. “Our elected representatives today aren't respecting the Constitution.”

That's why everyone here would probably call themselves a “constitutional conservative,” he said.

Tignall said he believes in the Constitution and fears that executive orders and bribes are undermining it.

“The Constitution has an amazing way of keeping groups from becoming too powerful,” he said. “I want it to keep protecting the rights and freedom of my grandchildren.”

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