This, despite what Russo says is a record of orderly conduct. "We've done 301 Express rallies so far," he says, "and the only incident was in Boston last fall, when some college kid had a dozen eggs and was trying to lob them onto the stage when Governor Palin was speaking." The police, he says, nabbed the kid. Russo declined to press charges.
"That's the only arrest that we ever had. We're happy people, not angry. We clean up after we leave. We celebrate America. It's not a screaming-and-yelling kind of thing."
One group, however, appears to to have no trouble distinguishing between OWS and the Tea Party: The American Bankers Association.
A memo to the ABA by Washington lobbying firm Clark, Lytle, Geduldig & Cranford notes that while the two movements "overlap on angered populism," Democratic strategists "have identified the OWS movement as a way to tap" that anger. The memo lays out a strategy for counteracting OWS's burgeoning power, saying: "It would be easy to dismiss OWS as a ragtag group of protesters, but they have demonstrated that they should be treated more like an organized competitor who is very nimble and capable of working the media…and engaging office holders to do their bidding."
Research is required, says the memo, "to understand who is funding it [OWS] and what their background and motives are. If we can show they have the same cynical motivation as a political opponent it will undermine their credibility in a profound way."
That goal, says the memo, is achievable in 60 days at a cost of $850,000.
Clark, Lytle, asked for comment by ABC News, did not reply. ABA spokesman Jeff Sigmund responds: "Our government relations staff received the proposal. It was unsolicited, and we chose not to act on it in any way."