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Town halls across the country

August 31, 2009
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Wanna know what’s going on in Town Hall meetings across the country?townhall

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-MN was talking about the news reports coming out of the UK of women giving birth in the hallways because they don’t have room in the hospitals. “That happens here” shouted a heckler insistently. “I’ve given birth here probably more times than you, sir,” she quipped to laughter.

*Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., was confronted by self-described Democrats who accused their representative of lying about health reform and protested, “Why would you try to stuff a health-care plan down our throats in a couple days when the president took six months to pick a dog for his kids?”

* Also in Maryland, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., admitted to receiving nearly 1,600 RSVP’s for a town hall meeting at a concert hall that only seated only 500. When an estimated 1,500 showed up for the meeting, protesters lined the streets outside with signs and shouts.

* In Mehlville, Mo., protesters lined up around the block of the Bernard Middle School gym where Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., had planned a public forum. When hundreds were left standing on the street, they remained outside into the evening. Eventually, a union representative reportedly assaulted one of the protesters, Kenneth Gladney, which lead to six arrests, including a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter. Gladney later appeared in an interview on the Fox News Channel explaining the attack, which drew national attention.

* A video posted on YouTube, one of many from around the country, reportedly shows several hundreds standing outside in a stunningly long line, waiting to get into a packed town hall meeting on health care with Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga.

* Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., has called off further events after a June 22 event he held in Setauket, N.Y., in which protesters dominated the meeting by shouting criticisms at the congressman for his positions on energy policy, health care and the bailout of the auto industry.

* Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., got an earful, too – especially on the health-care issue.

* Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., heard from a very well-informed veteran – to the enthusiastic applause of those gathered.

* Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., also heard from the crowd when he made a gaffe by saying the work needs to be done “fast.”

* The Pittsburgh Tribune review captured video of a town hall with Specter in Kittanning, Pa., reporting that 1,500 showed up to voice their concerns over health care. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Specter told reporters afterward.

* U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., tried to explain at a town hall that people “don’t know” how much they’re already paying to cover the uninsured, but his reasoning was drowned out by protesters.

* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited a Denver, Colo., clinic for the homeless to raise support for Obama’s health-care plan, only to be met by streets lined with protesters opposed to the measure.

* Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-TX, went out to meet constituents, only to be met with protesters shouting in opposition to the health-care bill, “Just say no!”

* Close to 100 sign-carrying protesters greeted Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., at a late June community college small-business development forum in Panama City, Fla.

* Danville, Va., anti-tax tea party activists claimed they were “refused an opportunity” to ask Rep. Thomas Perriello, D-Va., a question at a town hall event and instructed by a plainclothes police officer to leave the property after they attempted to hold up protest signs.

* Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., was chased by a crowd saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

* In the wake of vocal town hall protests covered by the press, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., attempted to ban news cameras from his public forum on health care reform, but eventually relented and allowed the coverage.

* A handful of New York’s congressmen, including Democrats Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter and Republican Chris Lee, have shunned the town hall meetings altogether, opting instead for telephone meetings or no meetings at all.

* Rep. Mark Schauer, D-Mich., also sought to dodge boisterous health-care reform critics by holding a teleconference forum, rather than a public town hall meeting. The decision didn’t stop protesters on both sides of the debate rallying outside the lawmaker’s office.

* The constituents of Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn., unable to access their representative through a town hall meeting, created a video charging that Tanner has met with Michael Moore and Fidel Castro, “But he won’t meet his constituents in the 8th District to talk about health care.”

Interesting times.

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