(CNN) - President Barack Obama's top political adviser had a blunt message Sunday for protesters who took part in a Tea Party rally the day before in Washington: "They're wrong" on health care.
"The president made it very, very clear that he wants to build on the system that we have," rather than create a vast new system, David Axelrod told CBS' "Face the Nation."
Axelrod said the reform would bring changes that benefit those with health coverage and those who can't afford it or lose it.
"We ought to focus on what it's about and not on distortions of it," Axelrod said of the president's plan.
Tens of thousands of people gathered outside Congress on Saturday to protest against health-care proposals favored by Obama that they fear will further increase government spending and expand government to the detriment of the economy and personal freedoms.
The protesters railed against what they called a planned government takeover of health care and other costly programs, such as the $787 billion economic stimulus program.
Many carried posters comparing the government to Nazi Germany or depicting Obama as an African witch doctor.
Axelrod said he does not believe the demonstration was "indicative of the nation's mood." He added, "One of the great things about our country is people can express themselves even if they're not representative of the majority."
The program also showed a clip of an interview with Obama that will be broadcast Sunday night on "60 Minutes." In it, the president mentioned a "coarsening" of political dialogue in the United States illustrated by a Republican congressman shouting "you lie" during Obama's speech to Congress last week and the angry claims of the Tea Party protests.
"I will also say that in the era of 24-hour cable news cycles that the loudest, shrillest voices get the most attention," Obama said in the clip. "… One of the things that I'm trying to figure out is, you know, how can we make sure that civility is interesting."
Saturday's march leading to the Capitol stretched for blocks on the final day of the Tea Party Express' cross-country bus tour, which began August 28 in Sacramento, California.
The tour included rallies in about 30 cities. An official crowd estimate for Saturday's protest was not available, but reporters at the scene described the crowd as in the tens of thousands.
The Tea Party movement gained momentum this year, with protests against Obama and the Democrats' economic stimulus plans held across the country. Now, the focus of group - whose name stands for Taxed Enough Already - is on health-care reform.
The Tea Party Express tour was funded by Our Country Deserves Better, a conservative political action committee. However, the Tea Party Express calls itself nonpartisan.
Members from conservative groups such as Freedom Works, run by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, participated in Saturday's rally.
Democratic leaders accuse some conservative groups and commentators, along with opponents of reform in the health insurance and medical industries, of spreading misinformation about health-care legislation to generate public opposition.