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Glenn Beck rally: 'I have a dream' theme takes tea party turn

Thousands gathered at Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' rally at the Lincoln Memorial. Beck's message was more religious than political – but less so among tea partiers in the crowd.

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James Johnson of Delray Beach, Fla., left, and Jim Davis of Provo, Utah, attend the "Restoring Honor" rally, organized by Glenn Beck, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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The blankets and lawn chairs at Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally extended from the Lincoln Memorial to the World War II Memorial and beyond – covering more than twice the ground as the far more racially mixed crowd that heard the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak on this site at the March on Washington 47 years ago.

Speakers from television commentator Beck and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to Dr. King’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, referenced the well-known “I have a dream” speech.

“Glenn Beck is using his popularity and influence to bring us together … to focus not on politics but on honor and ‘the content of our character not the color of our skin’,” as her uncle had put it, said Alveda King, director of Afro-American outreach for the antiabortion group Priests for Life.

“This is the day we can start the hearts of Americans again, and it has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with God,” Beck told the crowd estimated at anywhere from tens of thousands to 500,000. (The National Park Service no longer gives official estimates of crowd size.)

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