It's About Jobs: Liberal Groups Come Together for Washington March

NAACP President Ben Jealous Says Rally is an Antidote to the Tea Party

Oct. 1, 2010— -- A coalition of labor unions, civil rights and progressive groups is banding together for a rally in Washington, D.C. this weekend, aiming to put job creation on the top of the Congressional agenda.

"One Nation Working Together," organized by some 400 groups, is in stark contrast to Glenn Beck's conservative rally in August that drew hundreds of thousands of people to the nation's capitol.

This weekend's rally, however, was planned well before Beck's, Jealous said. Organizers say the goal is to tell lawmakers they need to find common ground on the issue of jobs and get people to vote come November.

"We're not a response to the Tea Party. If anything, we're the antidote. We are a different response to the same moment," NAACP president Benjamin Jealous told ABC News. "They have sought to attack diversity. They have attacked the 14th amendment. They made racial profiling the law of the land in Arizona and have ambitions to do it elsewhere. We say, 'Don't push down on diversity, push up on prosperity.'"

The rally, expected to draw thousands of people, is a chance for Democratic groups to reenergize the base. The surge of the Tea Party movement and conservative groups has rallied Republicans in much the same fashion as Democrats in 2008.

While the enthusiasm gap among Democrats is narrowing, it is yet to be as strong as it is among the GOP.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this week showed that enthusiasm for mid-term elections among Democratic-leaning groups was creeping up -- Republicans had a three-point advantage among likely voters when asked which party they would support in the Congressional elections. That's down from their nine-point lead in late August.

But while that may be an upside for Democrats, it's not a sign that the path is completely clear or that Democrats will see the kind of energy in November that will help them keep control of the House.

When asked about the lack of enthusiasm, Jealous said the rally is not about supporting one party or another but about getting people to vote.

"We want everybody to vote. We are not in this for parties, we are in this for the next Congress," he said. "This is about making sure whoever is in office in the next Congress in either party understands that the expectation of the majority of people in this country is they will focus on creating more jobs."

'One Nation Working Together' Rally

Crowds from around the country are expected to attend. Jealous said the NAACP has confirmed more than 1,600 buses and he is "positively optimistic" that the rally will attract a large turnout.

Other sponsors include groups such as Al Sharpton's National Action Network, Hispanic civil rights group National Council of La Raza, environmental group Sierra Club and labor unions AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union and UAW.

"I think our members are saying that working people are facing the biggest crisis in our generation and that we want to stand up and speak out and we want to vote in numbers like never before November 2nd, because we need to get back to work," SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said in an interview with MSNBC's Ed Schultz this week. "We need to fix our broken immigration system and we need corporations to share in the responsibility of getting this economy going again."