How big was the crowd in D.C. today?
posted at 8:31 pm on September 12, 2009 by Allahpundit
Anyone have any official/nonpartisan estimates? I’ve seen numbers ranging from 50,000 on the low end (from David Shuster, natch) up to “a healthy six figures” from Reason’s Matt Welch on up to the two million figure cited by the boss earlier this morning, which ABC insists it never reported. As of a few hours ago, D.C. police were refusing to make any estimates but ABC got some unspecified city officials on the record claiming there 60,000 to 75,000 people there. Any other numbers floating around? E-mail me if so. I think using protest size as a gauge of popular sentiment is stupid — witness the huge turnouts against the war in early 2003 when public support was in the neighborhood of 65 percent — but it’s a fun talking point, so let’s have fun.
Two videos of the crowd for you to peruse. One is a time-lapse from a traffic cam of people gathering this morning, the other is of MSNBC anchor Alex Witt marveling at the scale of the rally. Believe it or not, there were lefties speculating on Twitter today that the photo Michelle posted this morning was bogus because the flag in the foreground appears to be at half-mast; it must have been a photo of a lefty protest from years ago, the theory went, for surely the right couldn’t muster a throng of that size. Compare it to the videos, though, and you’ll see that the shot’s obviously from today. Alas, 9/12 Truth, we hardly knew ye!
Update: However big it was, it was bigger than expected. From the NYT: “Many came on their own and were not part of an organization or group. But the magnitude of the rally took the authorities by surprise, with throngs of people streaming from the White House to Capitol Hill for more than three hours.”