BY ABDON M. PALLASCH
Chicago Sun-Times Political Writer
HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL.---Five thousand conservative true believers cheered Fox News host Glenn Beck and other right-leaning firebrands at Right Nation 2010 in Hoffman Estates on Saturday night in a call-to-arms 45 days before Election Day.
With his trademark chalkboard behind him, Beck invoked God, the Constitution and Thomas Jefferson.
"We are 40 days from fundamentally changing America,'' Beck said. ". . . What the Tea Party movement wants is an end to out-of-control spending, an end to the insanity, an end to the growth in government that is gobbling everything up.''
He also ridiculed first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to get people to eat healthier snacks like apples or carrots.
"Get away from my french fries, Mrs. Obama," Beck warned. "First politician that comes up to me with a carrot stick, I've got a place for it. And it's not in my tummy."
Beck railed against the media establishment, but then stopped himself and said, "I know that's a little of the pot calling the kettle ... I know I'm part of the media establishment."
Bill Brady, the Republican nominee for governor, and his running mate, Jason Plummer, and other conservative GOP candidates asked this crowd not just for their votes but for their feet on the ground on Election Day.
"We're doing well in the polls, but we want you to think we're down," Brady said, before referencing Chicago's history of vote fraud. "There's one city that might steal four or five points from me on the night before the election. . . . We need your help."
Speakers mocked Chicago's history of vote fraud, Illinois' penchant for sending governors to prison and Illinois' gift of Democrat Barack Obama to the country.
"Will you raise your right hand and swear you will stop sending politicians to the rest of us, until you get it right?" Beck told the crowd of mostly-Illinois residents, though people did fly in from around the country, including former House Republican Leader Dick Armey from Texas.
They slammed health-care reform and the education bureaucracy.
"The role of the federal government is not to pick out doctors -- it's to defeat radical jihadists,'' U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan said. "The role of the federal government is not to educate our children. It's to rush to the border and seal our borders."
Moderates such as Illinois GOP Senate nominee Mark Kirk stayed away from Saturday's event.
But it did attract Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate Mike Labno. His 6-year-old daughter Emily told attendees as they came in that her father is "the only pro-life, pro-gun candidate for Senate."
"Let's face it - there is no Republican in this race," Labno said as he greeted attendees on the way in.
Inside the arena, when conservative commentator Phil Kerpen urged the audience to vote for Kirk, more people applauded than booed.
Thanks to Illinois' "special election" for senator, Kirk could go to Washington six weeks early, in time to add a 42nd Republican vote against any bills the Democrats try to pass in December's 'Lame Duck' session before what is expected to be a more-Republican senate is sworn in January 3.
"Whatever you think of Mark Kirk, he has made a clear promise to block everything in the lame-duck session and we need that," Kerpen said to cheers and some boos.
Before the event kicked off, about 200 protesters joined in song and prayer outside.
"Let's not kid ourselves -- this is about racism," said the Rev. Rodney Reinhart, an Episcopal pastor from Harvey. "It's because we have a black man in the White House. This is about money. You have to pay $1,600 to get your picture taken with Glenn Beck."
About 140 people reportedly paid to get their picture taken with Beck. Money raised will be used to help conservative candidates.