All things considered, I think the best estimate, finally, is that Beck attracted somewhere between 250,000 and 400,000 people.
The Associated Press summed it up this way:
Organizers claimed they had as many participants as Beck’s rally. But Saturday’s crowds were less dense and didn’t reach as far to the edges as they did during Beck’s rally.
This is illustrated in these comparative photographs:
Click here for a photo from Saturday’s left-wing rally.
Click here for a photo from the Glenn Beck rally.
Compare and contrast as necessary — as the lawyers say: “the thing speaks for itself.”
(Update: Or just click on the blinking gif created by blogger Doug Ross to compare the crowds at two events.)
It’s difficult to place the edges of the crowd from these photographs, simply because the crowd in that one overhead photo is so far down the picture. However, the grassy area around the Lincoln Memorial is roughly one tenth the area in the full map above. That means the “One Nation” crowd would have been roughly 22,000 to 85,000 people at most.