By NAFEESA SYEED, Associated Press Writer Nafeesa Syeed, Associated Press Writer – 29 mins ago
WASHINGTON – Thousands of people marched to the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, carrying signs with slogans such as "Obamacare makes me sick" as they protested the president's health care plan and what they say is out-of-control spending.
The line of protesters spread across Pennsylvania Avenue for blocks, all the way to the capitol, according to the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. People were chanting "enough, enough" and "We the People." Others yelled "You lie, you lie!" and "Pelosi has to go," referring to California congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
Demonstrators waved U.S. flags and held signs reading "Go Green Recycle Congress" and "I'm Not Your ATM." Men wore colonial costumes as they listened to speakers who warned of "judgment day" — Election Day 2010.
Richard Brigle, 57, a Vietnam War veteran and former Teamster, came from Paw Paw, Mich. He said health care needs to be reformed — but not according to President Barack Obama's plan.
"My grandkids are going to be paying for this. It's going to cost too much money that we don't have," he said while marching, bracing himself with a wooden cane as he walked.
FreedomWorks Foundation, a conservative organization led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, organized several groups from across the country for what they billed as a "March on Washington."
Organizers say they built on momentum from the April "tea party" demonstrations held nationwide to protest tax policies, along with growing resentment over the economic stimulus packages and bank bailouts.
Many protesters said they paid their own way to the event — an ethic they believe should be applied to the government. They say unchecked spending on things like a government-run health insurance option could increase inflation and lead to economic ruin.
Terri Hall, 45, of Starke, Fla., said she felt compelled to become political for the first time this year because she was upset by government spending.
"Our government has lost sight of the powers they were granted," she said. She added that the deficit spending was out of control, and said she thought it was putting the country at risk.
Norman Kennedy, 64, of Charleston, S.C., said he wants to send a message to federal lawmakers that America is "deeply in debt." He said though he'd like everyone to have free health care, he said there's no money to pay for it.
"We want change and we're going to get change," Kennedy said. "I want to see fiscal responsibility and if that means changing Congress that will be a means to that end."
Other sponsors of the rally include the Heartland Institute, Americans for Tax Reform and the Ayn Rand Center for Individuals Rights.