After Dale Maddy came from Lodi to Madison on Tuesday afternoon, he stood for hours holding a pair of "Don't Tread on Me" flags to greet the Tea Party Express III bus tour as it pulled into town. He said bad government inspired him to brave the cold and bad weather.
Kathi Freymiller or Fennimore drove in with a friend because she's concerned about government spending.
And Kelly Dunse of Madison said it's time "for Americans to take back America."
They joined the hundreds who gathered on Tuesday evening for a rally to celebrate the Tea Party movement. And then they waited.
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A trio of Tea Party buses pulled in about a half-hour late for the event, which was held at a parking lot on U.S. Senate candidate Terrence Wall's property on Crossroads Drive, but few seemed to be complaining as the rally got under way. The crowd said the Pledge of Allegiance, and performers sang about having the "Obama blues" and "this socialist nightmare" to the tune of "New York, New York." By the end of the evening, a rapper who goes by "Polatik" had taken the stage to perform a piece celebrating fiscal responsibility and the power of the free market.
"Limited government is the only solution," he rapped. "Our only foundation should be our Constitution."
After stopping in Madison, the Tea Party Express will continue on to Milwaukee, Eau Claire and Green Bay as part of a national tour that will end in Washington, D.C., on April 15, tax day.
Organizers say each stop on the tour will highlight politicians who have voted for more government spending, higher taxes and "government intervention in the lives of American families and businesses."
After the rally wrapped up and the buses pulled out of town, Maddy said the event was what he was expecting. He mentioned the performers trying to sell CDs and the politicians mingling with the crowd and looking for votes. But he added it was about more than that.
"People are tired of government spending and they're tired of big government," he said.