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The scene before Palin's speech

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
BOSTON -- Before Sarah Palin spoke to the crowd here, numbering in the thousands here on the Boston Common, it was being revved up with anti-Obama and anti-tax rhetoric, as well as gauzy patriotic songs.

The expansive crowd was flying "Don't Tread on Me" and colonial America -- 11 stars -- flags.

As the crowd was gathering, one man said, "We're not all crazy."

Because of the optics, many here recognize the need of being careful. But there is no shortage of provocative signs and hot rhetoric.

For example, Mark Williams, chairman of the Tea Party Express, the group that organized the event, said, "Political correctness led to 9/11. Political correctness led to Barack Hussein Obama. We have a full blown case of AIDS and we're the cure."

During the so-called "Tea Party anthem," the singer, one of the only black participants in this massive rally, asked in song, "Are you a racist, angry, violent mob?"

"No," came shouts from the crowd

"Repeal the bill," he sang. "Repeal the bill," he continued.