FreedomWorks led the organizing efforts for the September 12 march on the nation’s capital, probably the first mass march to demand fiscal responsibility and defend free markets. The organization’s press secretary, Adam Brandon, estimates about 600,000 people turned out – and says that could be an underestimate.
“At 7 a.m. that morning, reporters were calling to ask how many we expected, and I said ‘tens of thousands,’ because I wasn’t really sure, and that’s what got quoted.” As the morning progressed, the crowds kept growing. “I believe the media now sees the movement is credible,” Brandon said.
Brendan Steinhauser, FreedomWorks’s grassroots director, said the throng came from every state and the attendees expressed anger at both major political parties. “It was definitely nonpartisan,” Steinhauser said. “If Republicans think this was a friendly crowd, they are wrong.”
Steinhauser traces the success of the Washington march back to the April 15 Tax Day Tea Parties. “Leading up to tax day, towns in nearly every county were throwing a Tea Party,” Steinhauser said. “These local organizers threw that event on April 15 and maintained their email lists and Twitter groups. A local infrastructure was created. An event like this can’t be top-down. It’s driven by the grassroots.”