Rally to Restore Sanity Raises Money for National Mall

Jon Stewart may or may not "restore sanity," but he's already raised a lot of money in conjunction with his October 30th rally.

On Thursday, the "Daily Show" host announced the Trust for the National Mall, which is dedicated to restoring and improving the Mall, as the official non-profit of his "Rally to Restore Sanity." The Trust is also the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service, which approves permits for events on the National Mall.

Permits for the "Rally to Restore Sanity" have been approved for 60,000 people on the north half of the Washington Monument grounds, closes to Constitution Ave. -- though sources tell CBS News permits for a larger crowd may still be requested.

On Tuesday's "Washington Unplugged," Trust for the National Mall President Catherine Cunningham said $55,000 has been donated to the group since Stewart's announcement.

"The National Mall has $400 million in deferred maintenance," Cunningham said. "The kind of awareness that Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show" is going to bring and the rally is going to bring to the needs of the National Mall is really important."

Cunningham told CBS News they thought Stewart was joking when they first received the call from his production staff.

Public Citizen's Joe Newman also joined "Washington Unplugged" Thursday. The non-profit consumer advocacy group is hosting an online contest called, "What Sign Should I Bring to Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity."

Nearly 4,500 ideas have been entered as of Tuesday morning. "They range from the angry, the sarcastic, the self-deprecating and some are pretty clever," Newman said, acknowledging that there is a lot of anger in the entries.

The winning slogan will be printed on 5,000 signs and handed out on the National Mall October 30th. "[Jon] Stewart is preaching a message of sanity, of rational discourse and that's what we'll be looking for when we pick a winner," Newman said. "We're going to take the sign we like best- may not necessarily be the funniest, it may not necessarily be the most sarcastic- but the one that we believe gets our message across."

Entries include: "At least the war on the middle class is going well," "I believe in the separation of corporation and state" and, "Too poor to buy a politician."

"Jon Stewart's rally could be bigger than Woodstock which had 500,000 people, and I wouldn't be surprised if we have 100,000 or 200,000 people show up just from what people are saying online," Newman said.

"Washington Unplugged" also featured an interview by CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes with West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Governor Joe Manchin, CBS News' Kaylee Hartung and Politico's Kiki Ryan.

"Washington Unplugged," CBSNews.com's exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on CBSNews.com each weekday at 2 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.


Christine Delargy is an associate producer for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. For more of Washington Unplugged, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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