Boston (CNN) - Tea Party activists cast their cause as a patriotic movement from Americans fearful about the nation's direction during a rally Wednesday in Boston's Common. But their message clashed with critics who cast Tea Party activists as "victims of misinformation."
The well-attended event featured a long roster of speakers, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. It's the last stop before the Tea Party Express 3 national tour ends in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Virtually all of the speakers at the Boston event railed against the Obama administration's policies, which they believe highlight big government run amok.
But Tea Party activists also found themselves on the receiving end of criticism from a smattering of anti-Tea Party protesters in the crowd.
To be sure, the number of critics at the rally was small compared to the Tea Party activists. But the volume of the opposing criticism was evident.
Tea Party opponent Mike Hoban said that Tea Party activists "are people that are the victims of misinformation campaigns" and that the Tea Party movement does not represent "the concerns of most Americans."
Levi Russell, communications director for the Tea Party Express 3 tour, disagreed and told CNN that the Tea Party movement supports the rights of their critics to speak their minds.
"It's a constitutional movement. And a big part of that is freedom of speech," Russell said. "One of the reasons that we're here is that we're standing up for their right to say what they want."
But inflamed passions on both sides sparked at least one protracted argument between a crowd of Tea Party members and a single opponent.
In the verbal clash, the angry throng of Tea Party activists surrounded 20-year-old Naveed Easton, incensed by a neon green sign he held that read, "White people are pissed."
"What were you thinking when you wrote that?" a woman's shouted at Easton.
In an exchange of impassioned and heated words, the 20-year-old said he was trying to make a point about how extreme he believes Tea Party activists are.
Easton said he was fed up with "people ignorantly throwing terms like communism, socialism, Marxism, fascism that they don't know and they can't define."
"It's a ridiculous movement," Easton said as he was surrounded by supporters of the movement.
Tea Party activists are especially sensitive to any claim from their critics that they harbor racist thoughts. Activists adamantly state they oppose President Barack Obama's policies – not his race – although Tea Party protesters have often carried signs and shouted slogans that could be interpreted as racist.
Some Tea Party leaders have said such signs stoke a negative stereotype against the movement, but others – including New York Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino – have forwarded e-mails depicting Obama and the first lady as an 80s-era pimp and prostitute and a video of an African tribal dance entitled "Obama Inaugural Rehearsal."