The Associated Press April 15, 2011, 9:04AM ET

Anti-tax rally draws 300 to Michigan Capitol

About 300 tea party supporters and anti-tax advocates waved signs and booed Democratic President Barack Obama and his policies during a rally Thursday at the Michigan Capitol.

With Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm no longer in office, most of the speakers' comments were directed toward Obama and anger over the rising U.S. debt.

But there was also some criticism for GOP U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, who helped avert a federal government shutdown by reaching a spending plan with Democrats that many tea party advocates say doesn't contain deep enough cuts.

Dick Morris, an author and Fox News Channel commentator, sparked loud cheers when he said Michigan's GOP congressional members should vote Thursday against "the Boehner sellout deal."

If Boehner had stuck to his guns and the federal government had shut down last weekend, "It would not be, `Who do we blame for the government shutdown?' That's what they would have said in Washington, inside the Beltway, where 800,000 people wouldn't be getting a paycheck," Morris said. "In the rest of America, it would be, `Who do we credit?'"

Thursday's rally, which took place under gray skies and occasional light rain, drew a far smaller crowd than Tax Day protests in recent years. Last year, more than 1,000 people showed up at the Capitol. In 2009, the rally drew 4,000 people waving signs exclaiming "Stop the Fiscal Madness," "Read My Lipstick! No More Bailouts" and "The Pirates Are in D.C."

This year's rally wasn't even on the last official day to file taxes. The deadline has been delayed until midnight Monday, April 18, because the District of Columbia has an official holiday Friday in observation of Emancipation Day marking President Abraham Lincoln's signing of an 1862 law ending slavery in the district.

John and Cheryl Petersen of Manitou Beach have been going to Tax Day rallies at the Michigan Capitol since at least 2008 and are still unhappy about the high level of government spending.

"We're in such a hole. . . . We can't keep borrowing," said Cheryl Petersen, 63. "If I did that with my own finances, I'd be in jail for committing a felony."

John Petersen, 66, said he wasn't any happier with Republicans' efforts to rein in spending than those of Democrats.

"We're disappointed in both parties," he said.

Americans for Prosperity-Michigan hosted the rally, which also included speeches by potential presidential candidate Herman Cain, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette. After his speech, Cain was rushed by supporters eager to get his signature and have a photo taken with the former Godfather's Pizza CEO from suburban Atlanta.

"We have become a nation of crises," Cain said during his speech. "The biggest crisis we have is a deficiency of leadership."

The rally came a day after more than 5,000 people, many of them union members, jammed the Capitol lawn to protest Gov. Rick Snyder's policies.

They criticized the Republican governor for wanting to raise taxes on seniors and the poor while giving businesses a substantial tax break. They also said Republicans were wrong to try to take away workers' collective bargaining rights through a variety of bills that affect everything from binding arbitration to what workers should be paid on government construction projects.

The mood Thursday was much different. Several people at the rally held up anti-union signs, including one that said, "Union leaders are political thugs." Morris said unions have "destroyed" Michigan.

Still, government spending remained the largest target. "Don't supersize, economize," read one large sign.


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