Voicing grievances that vary from the Obama administration’s handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, to concerns about the Affordable Care Act, conservative activists rallied Tuesday near the White House to coalesce around one common goal — to see the president resign.
About 200 protesters milled around at noon, listening to dozens of speakers and basking in the sun to stay warm in Lafayette Square, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. A few carried handmade “Impeach Obama” signs, while others hoisted American or yellow Gadsden flags above their heads.
The daylong event was meant to be a rallying point for dozens of separate activist organizations to begin working together toward a common goal, organizer Larry Klayman said.
“Everyday we get a new coalition member or two,” said Mr. Klayman, who organized the Reclaim America Now Coalition. “It’s time that conservatives, libertarians, people of faith come together.”
Rally attendees came from as far away as Minnesota, with participants representing a variety of causes.
“I don’t think you’d find a lot of agreement among this crowd on anything, but I’m sure everyone here would like to see [President Obama] resign or impeached,” said former Sen. Gordon Humphrey, New Hampshire Republican, who spoke at the rally.
Will Bates, 53, a heating and cooling contractor, traveled from Kansas City, Mo. He came in part to protest the Affordable Care Act, saying that the monthly rate he pays to insure his daughter tripled as a result of the coverage being expanded to meet the minimum insurance standards required by the law.
“I was happy with my health insurance,” he said, adding that he has since found a new provider but won’t be able to start using the insurance until January. Until then he’s paying medical costs, which include expensive prescriptions for his daughter, out of pocket.
Others said they have grown distrustful of Mr. Obama in the wake of scandals and subsequent investigations.
“There’s too much bending of the Constitution to achieve Mr. Obama’s agenda,” said attendee Jerry Lucas, 63, a retiree from Chester, Va.
Mentioning investigations into the Benghazi terrorist attack that left four Americans dead and the Internal Revenue Services’ scrutinizing of nonprofit applications from tea party and other conservative groups, Mr. Lucas said he had expected stern consequences.
“Someone should have been prosecuted and his administration needs to do that,” he said.
While organizers originally said Tuesday’s event would turn into an Occupy-like protest, with protesters camping out in the park “until we get results” none of those interviewed said they intended to stay the night in the blustery cold.
Members of the 2 Million Bikers group said Tuesday’s event was a good way to network with other like-minded organizations, and let them know about their expanding efforts to protest in state capitals next year.
“We have to come together like the liberals,” said 2 Million Bikers national organizer Belinda Bee. “If we don’t we will lose America.”
• Andrea Noble can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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