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Veterans, protesters, politicians claim closed monument in D.C.

October 13, 2013|By Matt Pearce

The federal government shutdown has lasted nearly two weeks, but the Washington blame game is still open for business.

Hundreds of demonstrators pushed past barricades at the sealed-off World War II Memorial Sunday as part of a "Million Vet March" to protest the closing of war memorials, a demonstration that extended to the White House.

In a shutdown that has touched hundreds of thousands of federal workers, working parents, young students and home buyers, the closing of national monuments has proved to be a particular point of grievance for conservatives in the battle to leverage political blame for the impasse.

Sunday's march, though perhaps small by Washington's standards, nonetheless won the attention of the tea party's usual champions.

FULL COVERAGE: The U.S. government shutdown

"Watching those who have fought to protect freedom prevented by barricades from visiting these memorials to freedom was truly heart wrenching," former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin said in a Facebook post after attending the event.

"Seeing the unity of the American people as they joined together and rose up against this out of touch government was an inspiration," Palin added. "God bless our veterans, those who continue to serve, and their families."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of the Senate's most aggressive voices in pushing the Obama administration over cutting spending, joined the veterans, who were sponsored by various tea party groups, and added on Twitter that it was "an honor to join them today at memorials honoring their service."

So what's a protest with just a few hundred demonstrators? Well, start with one image that went viral among conservatives on Sunday.

Robert Costa, the Washington editor of the National Review, reported that House conservatives were viewing Sunday's march as a "game-changer."

Although conservatives made a lot of noise about the meaning of the event, some moderates and the left had a different take on it.

Blowback began to focus on one picture in particular, of a demonstrator carrying a Confederate flag outside the White House.

...At which point the debate online started to get a little more reproachful, messy, and generally weird.


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