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UPDATED 04/16/12 1:55 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) was among the speakers Monday at this year’s Tea Party rally in Daley Plaza.
At the rally early Monday afternoon, the Associated Press says hundreds of Tea Party activists protested against President Barack Obama’s proposed “Buffett rule,” inspired by pro-graduated tax billionaire Warren Buffett, which would impose a minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports
One Tea Party activist, Rich Olhava of Arlington Heights, held a sign calling it the “Baffoon” (sic) rule, and saying it encouraged a class divide, the AP reported.
As they have for the past three years, organizers of the Tax Day rally say they are protesting “out of control spending, unsustainable deficits and the unprecedented growth of government.”
“We are concerned with the direction of our country and our state,” Chicago Tea Party Communications Director Eric Kohn said in a news release. “The only solutions being offered from politicians in Washington and Springfield are higher taxes, more spending and massive debt.”
The demonstrators say they want politicians of both parties to be held accountable, stop runaway spending, and defend the principles of individual liberty and free markets.
Walsh was to be the featured speaker for the Monday rally, and also spoke at last year’s Chicago Tea Party event. The Congressman, who has drawn both praise and controversy for his straight-talk approach, biting rhetoric, and frequent propensity for raising his voice.
He has also found himself embroiled in a scandal, as his ex-wife, Laura Walsh, accuses him of failing to pay more than $117,000 in child support funds.
Walsh is up against Democrat Tammy Duckworth in his bid for reelection this November.
Also set to speak at the Monday event was St. Louis Tea Party cofounder and CNN contributor Dana Loesch, who herself generated widespread controversy and criticism earlier this year for a remark she made on Florissant, Mo., news-talk station KFTK, after a the release of a video showing a group of Marines urinating on dead Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan.
“Can someone explain to me if there’s supposed to be a scandal that someone pees on the corpse of a Taliban fighter? Someone who, as part of an organization, murdered over 3,000 Americans? I’d drop trou and do it too,” Loesch said on her radio show in January.
Also scheduled to speak at the Monday rally were Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Illinois Tea Party state director Denise Cattoni, Breitbart.com editor in chief Joel Pollak, and Americans for Prosperity Illinois director David From.
The Tea Party movement generally unites on the fiscally conservative principles of small government, lower taxes and less spending. Beyond that, the ideology of the people involved tends to vary dramatically.
In past years, Tea Party rallies have drawn more than 1,000 people to Daley Plaza. They have also drawn counterprotesters, who at a massive 2010 rally deemed the Tea Party of a racist movement and told them to “go home.”
No counterprotests have been announced for this year’s rally.