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Jeff Kuhn, 62, of Chenequa, Wis., carried a “Walker Rocks” sign to the rally. He said Mrs. Palin‘s speech galvanized him.

“We’re not giving up,” he said. “The government union workers shouldn’t be entitled to more benefits than us.”

Kathy Abel, a 51-year-old nurse from Madison, held a sign printed with “I hated Sarah Palin before it was cool” and wore a button that read, “Proud to be a union thug.”

“They make me giggle,” Ms. Abel said of the tea partyers. “Their values are so topsy-turvy. They had to come because this is where it’s happening. This is the flashpoint for democracy.”