Most of those there would have called themselves "patriots" (that "don't tread on me" flag was an early symbol of the American Revolution) who argue that their government is betraying traditional principles, CBS News Senior Political Correspondent Jeff Greenfield reports.
Steve Butler, a physician from Indian, was handing out copies of the Constitution. "If you read the quotes of Thomas Jefferson, these guys were conservatives and they said that the control should be with the people and not with the big government."
Thousands Protest Obama in DC
Ileana Johnson came to America from Romania 30 years ago:
"I find myself now, every morning when I wake up, what kind of freedom have we lost today?"
You could also find plenty of signs of something else -- a rage that identifies President Obama with Adolph Hitler, or Stalin, that questions his citizenship, that seems to celebrate the death of a famous liberal.
And among the main currents of the protesters here, a conviction that the media - -FOX News and talk radio excepted -- are deliberately concealing "the truth."
It's a charge of bias the networks vigorously deny.
But perhaps what most united these protesters was a broader discontent: a sense that they are not being heard, that their interests, and the national interests, are in the hands of a few.
Dawn Neuman came from from Texas. "It's all a good old boy network, where they don't care what you think. You know, they're gonna - Everybody's in everybody's bed, you know. In everybody's pocket. And it's who's got the most money. It's all about greed and power."
The real question, is what this populist anger means politically...does it help, or hurt, either party?
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