March 16th, 2010
02:47 PM ET
8 years ago

How big were Tea Party health care reform protests?

Crowd estimates differed for Tuesday’s Tea Party rally in Washington.

Crowd estimates differed for Tuesday’s Tea Party rally in Washington.

Washington (CNN) – Just how many people showed up for Tuesday's rallies on Capitol Hill to protest health care reform legislation?

It depends whom you ask.

The Democratic National Committee said their unofficial count was around 300 people.

"There are more people on the blue line during rush hour than there were on Capitol Hill today at the tea party code red rally," said Brad Woodhouse, DNC Communications Director.

The DNC says Tuesday's crowds appeared smaller than crowds at recent events in favor of passing health care reform that were put together by Organizing for America, which is a wing of the DNC.

"Clearly the momentum is on the side of those who believe that we cannot wait any longer to pass this critical legislation," added Woodhouse.

But Levi Russell, spokesman for Tea Party Express, which organized the main rally Tuesday, told CNN that some 2,500 to 3,000 people attended their event, and he says even more activists are in Washington protesting the bill.

"The people simply will not allow this obese bill to be shoved down their throats by the Obama administration. They want to save their careers, but we are here to protect our nation, and there are far more of us than there are of them. The crowd today proves we will not stop," Russell said.

Filed under: DNC • Tea Party movement
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Get Left or Get Left Behind

    Those Tea Partiers and there over inflated numbers. They really think people are fooled by them. The joke is on them. As long as Michelle 'The Devil" Bachmann represents them, I will always be against them!

    March 16, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Center left-out

    The Tea Party is making a big mistake joining with the Republicans, just ask the evangel christian groups they sold out.

    March 16, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. maria

    Well CNN ,what's the verdict? It's not enough to say, "this guy said this" and "this other guy said that." That's ridiculous. You are supposedly the journalists. Weren't you there to see how many people there were?

    March 16, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Steph

    I just called my congresswoman to tell her I support the President's health insurance reform plan. I may not have time to travel to Washington and stand around with a sign all day long, but I can make a quick phone call during my lunch hour. If you support health care reform, let your representative hear your voice!

    March 16, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. dcherry

    So, I would take the 300 + 2,500 = 2,800 and then divide by 2. That means 1,400 people protested!

    March 16, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    The tea-bags are a pack of morons and liars.

    March 16, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. Xavier

    Show the pictures, and we will know who is telling the truth. My opinion, the tea party peaked way to early, and is on its way out.

    March 16, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    300 or 3000?


    Not one black in the little bunch.

    March 16, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. terry,va.

    The tea party protesters are just the tip of the iceberg of those people that are protesting at home. Millions and millions of us are having to work and don't have time to go to rallies. Our rally will be this November when most of the dumbocraps will be voted out of office.

    March 16, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Albert R. K. . L.A., CA

    Even if 2,500 to 3,000 people were present, that is less than the number of tourist who would be in that area on any given day. The Tea Party is bogus. It is just a group f Corporatist leading well-meaning working class people by their emotions with flag and fear politics - nothing you can feed your kids with, pay the bills or provide medical care for them when they are sick. The Tea Party leaders are just the Republican leadership in sheepskin - Corporatist!

    March 16, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Doug,lib jersey

    The libs are addicts and lies are their crack!

    March 16, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Bob in Pa.

    I hope the ignorant DNC realizes that the rest of us dregs are still out here earning a living. We can't all afford to take off work.

    March 16, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. The Calabash Kid

    The teabag protests were about as spontaneous as a pro-Ahmedinijad rally in Tehran. It is true that a lot of people have swallowed Conservative propaganda hook, line, and sinker, so I'm willing to believe that there were a lot of people involved. They fall into two categories:

    1. Naive, earnest, unsophisticated, gullible, and always willing – for some reason – that a man wearing a $2,000 suit, fluffed and sprayed hair, and speaking with a southern accent cannot tell a lie. Case in point: they actually believe that Obama is trying to hurt Medicare and Social Security and that Conservatives are trying to protect it. They do not remember that Conservatives opposed both programs from the start and have tried to repeal them several times.

    2. Conservative operatives on the payroll of global corporations, conservative think-tanks, and mysterious non-profit corporations that don't seem to have any source of funds.

    In the end, teabaggers will all vote for those same con-artists who promise small government, family values, low taxes, strong national defense, local control, and so on. What they will get is more deficit spending, outsourced jobs, no benefits, bigger government, no-bid no-audit contracts for global corporations that made contributions to Conservative candidates, and no respect. Suckers.

    March 16, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. al in memphis

    They want to save their careers, but we are here to protect our nation, and there are far more of us than there are of them. The crowd today proves we will not stop," Russell said

    I'm willing to listen to most things, but I think Obama is really sticking his neck out for this unpoplar move. Really don't see how this is a career saver.
    Some version of health care is critical to the uninsured and businesses that are dealing with runaway cost. I'd be happy to see someone suggest we cut a trillion out of corporate give aways and unessential military to pay for some of this.

    March 16, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Me

    Uhhhh, didn't King Obama just have 200 people show up at his ralley in Ohio? So, who has the momentum again?

    March 16, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. johnnie w

    This Tea Bag NONSENSE is a TOOL the GOP . RNC, and the Republican Party,they are the SAME, it is a OUTRAGE ,with those RACIST SIGNS, with Kill the Bill ,with President Obamas Drawings on them. And to have MORON PENCE, So called Dr. Price, and that Bachman who by the way is still in ORBIT,around some UNKNOWN PLANET, promoting this is an Embrace of what they do NOTHING, they are LIVING JOKES, and for a PARTY OF IDIOTS to try to stop 30 MILLION AMERICANS from getting HEALTH CARE and REFROM to Millions more ,is their WATERLOO. it is creating a CLIMATE for those NUTBAGS to try and do Something STUPID to our President. It STIRS HATE, Division, and Down right UGLYNESS, but that what the GOP and this BAGGERS are MORONS, and when this BILL PASSES,the 2010 Midterms will WAKE UP AMERICA again, just like in 2008. and it is called ANOTHER LANDSLIDE for CHANGE,and you know who that PARTY is, the DEMOCRATS, that event today , look like the LAND OF CLOWNS.The GOP are SHAKING in their Right Wing BOOTS, because they know that TIME UP because CHANGE HAS COME. the GOP has no AGENDA for AMERICA,their FULL of TEA. Post that CNN.

    March 16, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |

    THE RIGHT GOT USED TO SEIZING POWER without a majority starting with Bush 2000, this is where minority rule ends. The dems in congress are calling the filibuster bluff and the tea bag blowhards should stop carping and accept that we need to control health care costs. They complain like little spoiled brats – they oppose "big government takeover" but never propose solutions or come to the table to discuss things – it's all rock throwing, plus profits for the guys who see a business opportunity in exploiting people's outrage (Rush has perfected this business model). The unfortunate things is that the outrage should have been there when we were driving ourselves into the ditch that George W. Bush and the Republican majority rolled us into with years of irresponsible government..

    March 16, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Some overhead pictures of the rally would clear this up pretty quickly.

    March 16, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    Levi Russell and the other tea-baggers better get a grip on reality. No one is shoving anything down anybody's throat. Remember our constitution? It is being rules being broken...all of our representatives will be able to vote on the health care bill. Its called represenative democracy, you pin-headed hayseeds! The putrid rightwing underbelly of this nation is going into hyper-drama-queen mode now....with their panties riding so high, they are choking on them.

    And by the way, some of the numbers seen at these tea-bagging rallies are curiosity seekers.... these people know the tea baggers are throw-backs to the neaderthal age........real, talking semi-baboons screeching vacuouisly about "socialism" and "liberals". When such morons go on public display, who can resist taking a peek at the lower-end of the human genetic pool.

    March 16, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. I Can't Stand It

    I'll let you in on a secret: conservatives are busy working and taking care of their families, it's hard to get them to drop everything and come out to carry a protest sign. The liberal community, on the other hand, is mostly composed of people who have no inclination to do anything productive, and always have time to protest whenever they feel they aren't getting a big enough share of the fruits of other people's labor. But that wasn't really a secret, was it?

    March 16, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |

    Look at the kid in the picture. A young idiot in training. What in the world does he know about health insurance reform? These people are dispicable. The sad part is, these Limbaugh, Beck and Bachmann followers feed this nonsense to their children. Hey Tea-Baggers, your reward will be great in hell.

    March 16, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. donttreadonme

    Going forward companies should pay employees health care credits that are to be used to pay for their private healthcare plan of their choosing. They should eliminate state restrictions so that we could all pool our health insurance nationally. The Governments roll would be as a watch dog on behalf of the people and to regulate and deter price gouging. I have no issues with mandating coverage, to protect us from having to pay for you!
    We want portable, private health care!

    March 16, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. not_a_dem_anymore

    those that were not in washington were at local offices – look for the Kilroy 'protest' in Columbus, Ohio. Media may downplay this and put more weight on teh 14 people sipping coffeee at Starbucks... but hte movement is real

    March 16, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Of course there is a big diparity in numbers. TEA party people had to pay their own way, The Organizing for America people were probably paid for by the taxpayers and of course the unions using some of the money they were given by the liberals through the "stimulus" package.
    And then of course we must remember SEIU/ACORN just really changed its name, they are still the same corrupt theives they have always been.

    March 16, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Dano

    Maybe if Obama just agreed to exempt Tea Party members from the health care reform provisions they would be happy. Then if they were to lose their jobs and/or their insurance they would be charged high premiums and denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. That sounds fair, doesn't it?

    March 16, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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