Americans for Prosperity's Defending the Dream conference took place just one day before Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally, marking the biggest conservative weekend in D.C. since last year's 9/12 March on Washington.
Social and economic conservatism have always gone hand in hand when it comes to right-wing politics. If Glenn Beck's rally covers national greatness, Americans for Prosperity has taken care of the fiscal side of things.
Over 50 speakers covered topics such as "The Ticking Tax Bomb" and "The Amazing Power of Economics." Radio show host Herman Cain, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and Washington Post columnist George Will were three of the headliners, who spoke to 2400 conference attendees from across the United States.
When you leave here, I hope you leave here energized and determined to fight for these principles when you go back home, because there is an awful lot at stake right now," said McDonnell.
The attendees were rowdy and motivated, and every single attendee at AFP who this reporter spoke to also planned on attending the Beck rally on Saturday.
"We believe in limited government, and the free market economy," said Maria Green of Cornelius, North Carolina. She showed up at the conference as part of a home school group that brought liberty-minded high-schoolers to Washington to participate in both events. "We believe in the same thing that Americans for Prosperity believes in," said Green.
Americans for Prosperity is "committed to educating citizens about economic policy and a return of the federal government to its constitutional limits," according to its website, and has been attacked for the left as an organization that "bank rolls" the tea party. It's true that the group has sponsored many events designed to educate and promote conservative ideology.
But the attendees who showed up at the events certainly weren't there because they were being paid.
"I am 64 years old. I have never marched on anything before. I grew up in the 60's, and I never marched," said Sharon Michaels, of Sea Grove, North Carolina. "I was moved to march on 9/12, because our country is on such a destructive path, I fear for my children."
This is Michaels' second trip to D.C., where she is attending Beck's rally in addition to the AFP conference. Defending the Dream was held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in northwest Washington.
Dick Morris echoed many speakers when he summarized his attitudes towards the current economic climate.
"When the leaders of the big spenders in Washington says that he is going to solve our economic problems by increasing spending... it reminds me of the middle ages, when they used to say, 'You have evil spirits inside you... and we have to remove half your blood,'" he said.
Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips touched on another theme — holding Republicans accountable after working to get them elected to Congress this November.
"Lets make sure that we, without any hesitation, on January 1 in 2011, lets make sure that ...we hold whoever wins in November accountable on day one," said Phillips. "President Reagan said 'trust but verify.' I say we just verify. I'm not in a very trusting mood these days."
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