FreedomWorks, the main organizers of the Tea Party event in Washington this past weekend, has dramatically lowered its estimate for the size of the crowd at the event from 1.5 million, a number the group now concedes was a mistake, to between 600,000 and 800,000 people -- though this is still substantially more than the tens of thousands that most mainstream media outlets have estimated, and which FreedomWorks wholeheartedly rejects.
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The politically charged issue of crowd size is complicated by the fact that there is no official estimate -- not from the Park Service, not from the D.C. Police, nor the Fire Department, etc. In fact, a Fire Department spokesman that I talked to told me that whoever had given a figure of 60,000-70,000 to ABC News had not been authorized to do so. So there's no independent source to verify FreedomWorks' latest number.
"I really wish that the Park Service would come out with a number," said FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon, in an interview with TPM. "I wish I was not doing this. If my mother calls me and asks how many, I'll say this was hundreds of thousands."