tea party rally

Politicians, political operatives and members of the media came close to outnumbering attendees at a much-hyped Columbia, S.C. Tea Party rally starring U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday.

Only 300 people (including a horde of Palmetto political operatives) attended the event in downtown Columbia, S.C. – which is a generous estimate in our book. That attendance figure – confirmed by other media outlets – amounts to less than one-tenth the size of multiple crowds that have gathered at the S.C. State House in recent years in support of parental choice.

It’s also roughly a tenth the size of the crowd that attended this same event in 2009.

In her remarks, Bachmann pledged that she would vote against raising the nation’s debt ceiling – an issue that other “Republicans’ in Washington, D.C. appear to be caving on in recent days.

Bachmann also referred to Obama as “Wall Street’s best friend,” a rather odd sound bite for this particular crowd.

Prior to speaking at the event, Bachmann – who is considering running for president in 2012 – met privately with Haley in the governor’s office. She also met privately with the state’s preeminent fiscal conservative, S.C. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) and State Treasurer Curtis Loftis – both of whom also spoke at the event.

Bachmann and Davis also appeared together at a Tea Party rally in Bluffton, S.C. on Saturday.

Anyway, keep refreshing this page for a full report on the gathering (and a few photos) …

UPDATE: From her official YouTube page, here is a video of Haley’s speech. In her remarks, she praises the Tea Party for its role in passing a new recorded voting law in South Carolina and pledges to be an “equal opportunity opponent to Obamacare.” She also reiterated her previous promise to “talk smack” to labor unions.

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