The rally on the steps of the Legislative Building began about 11 a.m., although a large crowd had arrived before then, with many carrying the current U.S. flag as well as the nation’s old “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. Others carried signs that read, “Repeal the bill, “Give me liberty not debt,” and “No gangster government.”
Crowd estimates varied; a sergeant with the State Patrol said 850 people were there, while some supporters pegged the crowd at 2,000 and others as high as 4,000. After the pledge of allegiance and a moment of prayer, McKenna stepped up to the microphone about 11:15 a.m. and addressed the crowd for about 15 minutes.
“My name is Rob McKenna, and I represent you,” he said to loud cheers and applause. McKenna has been mentioned as a potential GOP candidate for governor in 2012.
The federal health care law signed last week by President Barack Obama requires people to buy health insurance starting in 2014, and McKenna says it’s unconstitutional to require people to buy a commercial product.