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With Palin Leading the Charge, Crowd Slams Obama at Boston Tea Party Rally

BOSTON — Sarah Palin delivered a scathing indictment of the Obama administration at a rally for the Tea Party Express today on the Boston Common. But some in the crowd, while enthusiastic in their disapproval of the president, were skeptical of Palin herself.

Palin’s message was a familiar one: lower taxes, less spending and smaller government. “Americans now spend 100 days out of the year working for government before we even start earning money for ourselves,” said the former vice presidential nominee, who spoke for about 20 minutes.

This was the penultimate in a series of rallies for the Tea Party Express, which began in Searchlight, Nev., on March 27 and will end tomorrow in Washington. The crowd appeared to be a few thousand, but the Boston Police do not make crowd estimates. As at other Tea Party rallies, many participants held American flags and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.

The crowd cheered at Palin’s anti-Obama rhetoric. “It sure seems to me like the playbook is all Alinsky, all the time,” said Palin. She parodied Obama’s campaign slogans. “When they say yes we can, we’ll say oh no you don’t,” she said, adding, “We’ll keep clinging to our Constitution, and our guns and religion, but you can keep the change.”

“I think she’s waking America up,” said Karen Iolli, who runs a career school in Lakeville, Mass. She did not, however, think Palin was ready for the presidency.

Other Tea Partiers were less charitable toward Palin. “I’m not a big fan of Sarah Palin; she reminds me of Dan Quayle,” said Gary Gayrelian, a financial adviser from western Massachusetts wearing an American flag shirt. He carried a sign with a picture of the Constitution that read “Born 1787, died 2010.”

Almost all Tea Partiers thought tax rates were too high. “I’m sick of being taxed to death, and they’re going to add a VAT to pay for health care reform,” said John Boyle of Quincy, holding a sign that read, “Don’t Tax me Bro.”

Other speakers used more extreme rhetoric than Palin. “Political correctness is a virus like HIV, and we’ve got full-blown AIDS,” said Tea Party Express chair Mark Williams. Victoria Jackson, a former SNL cast member-turned-Tea Party activist, said, “Impeach Obama for his bribes! He’s giving free stuff to people so they’ll vote for him!”

Newly elected Republican Senator Scott Brown did not attend the rally, but few in the crowd seemed to mind. Jody Harney, a member of the Lowell Tea Party wearing a “Scott Brown for Senate” sweatshirt, didn’t see it as a snub: “He’s got a job to do.”

This was the first rally held in a Democratic bastion on this Tea Party Express tour. (Boston Common has been the site of many anti-Iraq War protests, for example.) A vocal number of counter-protesters showed up to the event. “These people can’t accept that we voted in a black man as president,” said Jay Farro, a retired teacher living in Beacon Hill. “The tea-baggers are a new disguise for the KKK.”

But most disagreements were civil. “Do you even pay taxes?” yelled a Tea Partier at some self-described young socialists. “Yes, I do,” replied one. “I do for this park, since I live here and not in the suburbs!” They went back and forth a few times before the protester walked off.

It was too nice a day for a drawn-out argument.

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