Palin pounds government at Boston tea party rally

BOSTON — Sarah Palin rallied the conservative tea party movement near the scene of its historical inspiration Wednesday, telling Washington politicians that government should be working for the people, not the other way around.

Addressing roughly 5,000 people, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee accused President Obama of overreaching with his $787 billion stimulus program. She also criticized the administration's health care, student loan and financial regulatory overhauls.

"Is this what their 'change' is all about?" Palin asked the crowd on a sun-splashed Boston Common. "I want to tell them, nah, we'll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion — and you can keep the change."

Tea partiers planned to meet for a final rally in Washington today, coinciding with the federal tax-filing deadline. Local events are also planned around the country.

Palin put her own spin on tax day, saying, "We need to cut taxes so that our families can keep more of what they earn and produce, and our mom-and-pops, then, our small businesses, can reinvest according to our own priorities, and hire more people and let the private sector grow and thrive and prosper."

She also played to the crowd by trotting out a trademark line as she lobbied for more domestic energy production.

"Yeah, let's drill, baby, drill, not stall, baby, stall — you betcha," Palin said, though Obama recently proposed to expand drilling off the Atlantic, and Gulf coasts.

The gathering intended to hark back to 1773, when American colonists upset about British taxation without government representation threw British tea into the harbor in protest — just a mile from the site of Wednesday's rally.

Small groups of counterprotesters urged civility, as well as respect for gay and minority rights. They noted some members of Congress alleged racism after voting for Obama's health care law.