Those behind and attending the 9/12 Project’s second annual rally on the National Mall in Washington want everyone to know this one is political.
The 9/12 Project was started by Fox News personality Glenn Beck. But, Beck wasn’t at this year’s rally. Instead, two weeks ago he hosted a “Restoring Honor” rally on the Mall - one he insists was not political at all.
That’s not the case with this 9/12 rally put on this year by FreedomWorks and a coalition of tea party groups that includes several national and local tea party organizations as well as Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project. FreedomWorks is a conservative non-profit group based in Washington that recruits and trains volunteers for events like this rally.
They are calling this year’s 9/12 rally “Remember in November.” And, there are enough signs, buttons, songs, and chants to prove it’s very political.
FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe tells Fox News that a lot has changed since last year’s 9/12 rally. Kibbe says, “Where as last year was really kind of a coming out party for the national tea party movement - where we all gathered in the same place at the same time for the first time… All of the folks that came last year are now running local tea parties and really have built up the community back home where the real work needs to happen.”
Headliners at this year’s 9/12 rally include: FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey, Republican Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind.), and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Armey insists today’s rally is “Explicitly about politics. It's about replacing bad officer holders with good office holders. Big government spenders will be replaced by small government conservatives.”
Cuccinelli’s message is specifically about health care and his state’s lawsuit over the federal health care overhaul. Cucinelli says, the issue “Is really more about liberty. We are trying to preserve the Constitution in that lawsuit against the federal government which is what the founding fathers had in mind. This is an incredible example of the federal government overstepping its authority and exercising dramatic powers they have never done before.”
The day began with a non-denominational service at the Washington Monument led by Reverand C.L. Bryant. Bryant is a former NAACP member who is now a tea party leader. He’s spoken at several tea party rallies as well as last year’s 9/12 rally.
After the service, the group marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol for the rally itself.
Last year, Beck said the goal of the 9/12 rally was to "Bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001. The day after America was attacked we were not obsessed with red states, blue states, or political parties. We were united as Americans."
Kibbe says this year’s message looks ahead to the November midterms. According to Kibbe “It centers around the principals of fiscal responsibility limited government and the idea that politicians need to be held accountable for their actions.”
Armey points out all incumbents are vulnerable – not just Democrats. “As we've always seen in the republican primary process, if you’re a big spending liberal whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, you are vulnerable to these people being active in opposition to your re-election or to your election in the first.”
*Gretchen Gailey contributed to this post