How many protesters were in attendance at Republican congresswoman Michelle Bachmann's tea party healthcare protest?


"I climbed the Capitol steps just before the event started so that I could get a good view of the whole crowd," the Washington Post's onetime White House reporter and columnist Dana Milbank wrote Friday. "I divided it into sections and counted. That's where I came up with 5,000. It's possible more came after I did my count, but nothing near 10,000."

A few dozen Republican House members attended, aimed at stirring up a crowd against Democrats' healthcare reform bill. Fox News' Sean Hannity interviewed Bachmann following the event.

"20,000+ people showed up," Hannity said. "Were you as surprised as I was?"

Bachmann smiled and replied.

After showing the clip, Stewart said: "Anywhere between 20 and 40,000 people. Or, as the Washington Post put it, 10,000."

Stewart then showed two clips Fox News employed to underscore the size of the event. He pointed out that the clips appeared to have been from two entirely different protests.

"I'm sorry, can we get back again," Stewart remarked. "That was weird. Because when that clip started, it was a clear fall day in Washington, D.C. Not a cloud in the sky, the leaves have changed.

"All of a sudden, the trees turn green again, and it's cloudy, and it looks like thousands and thousands of more people arrived," he continued. "If I didn't know any better, I would think they just put two different days together and acted like they didn't."

The bogus footage, Stewart found, actually came from a Sept. 12 protest two months ago, and was used on Fox News' Glenn Beck program two months ago.

This video is from Comedy Central's The Daily Show, broadcast Nov. 10, 2009.