August 7th, 2009
08:43 AM ET
5 years ago

Town hall meeting on health care turns ugly

(CNN) - A health care town hall meeting in Florida on Thursday dissolved into bouts of heckling and violent pushing and shoving among attendees.

The meeting in Tampa, which featured Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor and Florida State Representative Betty Reed, was another example of the tense battle lines that have been created in the passionate health care debate.

Hundreds showed for the meeting at the Children's Board of Hillsborough County, some carrying signs railing against President Obama's proposed health care reforms. Hundreds more were not able to get into the meeting room.

As Castor first began to speak, scuffles broke out as people tried to get into the meeting room. Parts of the congresswoman's speech was drowned out by chants of "read the bill, read the bill" and "tyranny," video of the meeting showed.

Full story


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. WhatsGoingOn

    "Passionate health care debate"? More like "thuggery paid for by the corporate shills to advance their greedy agenda and stick it to the people once again". You should call a spade a spade.

    August 7, 2009 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  2. GOP = Party of Tolerance

    Repukes are so desperate all they can do is send their goons to town hall meetings to shout so that no one can listen and ask questions from their Member of Congress. Protecting the special interests at all costs is a source of pride to Repukes.

    August 7, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  3. Diane

    They should require IDs so the loony hecklers being bussed in by the lobbyists can't enter.

    August 7, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. Stuffit

    Were the meetings 'ugly' before Chairman Obama asked the stormtroopers to attend? The representative had no answers other than talking points (which she couldn't support for lack of knowledge of the bill) so conveniently left the meeting instead of facing the fire. I'd say her re-election chances are slim.

    August 7, 2009 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  5. 60's survivor

    puppets of the GOP puppetmasters. mean spirited and unable to reason. so they push and shout and act like huge two year olde stamping feet and crying no no no!! the health insurance miesters in the back ground rubbing hands together saying mooohaha in the back of the crowds. if we can't have honest discussions we absolutely have nothing but a bunch of school yard bullies no reform!

    August 7, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  6. Post always rejected by CNN

    This just goes to show how dispicible this bunch of republicans are. Did you ever see a Democrat pull stunts like this on bush and he certainly needed it. Republicans are turning into a rowdy bunch of no-good louts. They are so afraid for the truth to get out there they are trying to suppress it. This is the same thing that happened in Nazi Germany before Hitler took over. Is that what these crummy butt bunch of republicans are trying to do. Mad because even with all their cheating in the last two elections the Democrats won so now they are trying to over throw the government so they can pillage and steal more from our country. If they weren't afraid of the TRUTH the health companies wouldn't be paying the republicans to raise havoc. I think these thugs should be rounded up and arrested.

    August 7, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  7. Independent

    The Freedom Works people at work....how weird they all say the same thing at each interuption...they all chant the words of the Republican Party...."JUST SAY NO."

    Get real CNN, all this is planned and people are brought in for this...

    August 7, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  8. Tommy

    Where are the police? Is there such thing as law enforcement, or is it selective law enforcement now? Wealthy cons can get up and be belligerent, cause a public disturbance, but antiwar protestors get arrested for disturbing the peace for simply standing outside the white house with signs?

    What a pathetically prejudiced country. And entities like CNN and Fox are just fomenting this type of interaction. I think the network heads should be brought to account for their parts in this.

    Aim high!

    August 7, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  9. Rob Johnson

    Everyone has a right to voice their opinion on this bill, the First Amendment is one of the cornerstones of American society and one of the things that makes us the greatest nation on Earth.

    However, "bouts of heckling and violent pushing and shoving" aren't going to solve anything. We need to learn to treat each other with respect and listen to the other side if we're ever going to fix our broken political system.

    August 7, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  10. Vicky from Milwaukee

    Just say no to these morons who care only that they have health care. Not a one of them cares about those who NEED health care reform. As long as their ok that's all that matters. Typical Republicans

    August 7, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  11. Mark of Saint Louis

    More Breaking news from last night, At a Russ Carnahan (D-MO Congressman) Town Hall Meeting, it appears that there was an assault on a peaceful bystander. The assault came from a union member that was organized to come in to support Carnahan. This appears to be the angry mob that people have been talking about, only that the violence came from the liberal left.

    August 7, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  12. elaine

    It is really sad, if it's true, that Republicans are doing these distractions or manufacturing distractions in meetings like these to make sure the Health Care Reform fails. These people are relentless, have no honor and love, and yet, they pride themselves as Christians and claim to spread the teachings of Christ! Sickening and total hypocrisy to the max!!!!

    Suffice to say that they are also aiming to make sure that Obama fails.

    August 7, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  13. Mark of Saint Louis

    CNN – investigate this, show some balance in your reporting.

    August 7, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  14. DL

    Many of these protests are staged. This is just another example of the minority wanting to steamroll real reform, it's their way or else and they could care less about what's best for the country. I suggest our 'media' actually researches this, when the Daily Show has the protest forms, and a list of the 'nonprofit' groups owned by insurance companies..and the mainstream media can't figure it out, it's a sad statement.

    August 7, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  15. Stephanie

    Why isn't CNN giving background on Rick Scott who is "counselling" these protestors.

    Do these people know they are being lead by a man whose company Columbis/HCA had to pay 1.7 BILLION dollars in fines when it was found guilty of huge fraud in Medicare claims.

    These protestors are DENYING the people who have come to ask and listen to answers their right to freedom of speech!! And the "leaders" of the Republican Party remain silent!!

    August 7, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  16. J

    Is this what the GOP has resorted too?? Violence??
    They will truly do anything to prevent money from being used to take care of people instead of going to insurance companies.

    And anyone who thinks that these town halls are not being deliberately sabotaged ask yourself this question. Did all those angry maniacs just happen to all get on the same bus at the same time and all just happen to have the same misinformation?? It is an organized attack on Democracy.

    Same people going crazy about this heath care bill are the same type of people who think the Birther conspiracy has credibility.

    August 7, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  17. AXH

    STOP ramming this health care reform down our throats!

    People are mad and rightly so, this administration is running wild spending and thrusting forth its liberal agenda.

    I like my health care; period.

    August 7, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  18. JB

    Is it too much to ask our PAID representatives to read the bill? If this was a HighSchool english class, they would all fail. John Conyers said reading the bill would be a waste of his time. By the way, the dems had Acorn and Code Pink. They laughed when Bush had shoes thrown at him, and now they have the gall to call citizens "mobs". What happened to democracy at work, and constituents getting involved in the process. And the media just reiterates the DNC talking points. Our media is bought and paid for by the DNC.

    August 7, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  19. TM

    I'm shocked, just shocked to discover that there is gambling going on at this establishment!

    Wind up a bunch of astroturfers with plans on how to shout down or otherwise intimidate anyone who doesn't agree with their political view, mix in a healthy dose of fear about losing "thier america" to a "kenyan born socialist dictator", and what do you think will happen?

    Now we can just sit back and watch the meally mouthed non-apologies from those on the right who were hoping for EXACTLY this kind of outcome.

    August 7, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  20. Obama is a Mistake

    You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. The Obama/Pelosi Democrats ought to mind Lincoln's words. They are peddling Socialism, and they are not getting away with it.

    August 7, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  21. So strange...

    I can't believe these people that believe the forwarded e-mails they get.

    Hey seniors, the government does not want to kill you.

    Hey crazy right wingers, it isn't going to be a single payer system. There is only going to be a PUBLIC OPTION. See the word OPTION? You are only little puppets on the strings of the insurance companies and the really sad part is, you have NO IDEA that you are!

    August 7, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  22. drman

    These Repug/Nazi/Domestic Terrorists who are being ordered to disrupt these meetings look like their drugged. These pictures remind me of the crazed Hitler worshipers in old documentary world war 2 films.
    The Rethugs/Steele/Rush/Fox News are gleefully watching their zombies destroy this great country. They are reveling in this! They want America to Fail and Destroy Itself. They pray for an attack on us so they can blame Obama. Vote these Retug/nazis out!! Send them back to their States as the losers they are.

    August 7, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  23. annie s

    I've read about 90% of the bill so far, and yes, it needs a few changes – most notably that it needs to be enacted faster. Still, the shouts of "Read the Bill" make no sense because this will not be the final legislation. Here's how it works people – both the House & the Senate need to actually PASS a bill. Then they have to hammer the two bills into one, so there are bound to be many changes. The selfish Americans who only care about their own employer paid coverage are missing the big picture – insurers deny and ration care all the time – and costs are going to sink our economy over the long haul. The truth is that health insurance reform will help all Americans by making insurance more affordable and available to more people – and a public health option is the most important factor in doing both.

    August 7, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  24. Dave

    When it's Moveon.org or ACORN or the Black Panther party, it's okay when they actually use violence and attack speakers on the stage but when it's ordinary American citizens demanding that thier Congressional leaders actually READ THE BILL, its an "angry mob"

    Keep it up Dem's, keep insulting anyone who dares question anything put forth by the Chosen One who then has Congress actually write the legislation that does not meet the Chosen Ones words but who cares about facts. Keep it up so that the Republican party can take back Congress in 2010 and HOPEFULLY this time they will govern like true fiscal conservatives and STOP this insane defiect spending spree that is DESTROYING our great country

    August 7, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  25. Kevin in Ohio

    The only reason this turned vioent was the fact that the democrats started to flex their muscles and stifle free speech. Chicago gangland politics is here now. And our right to free speech is being threatened..... unless you are a member of ACORN, Code Pink, or any one of the other left-wing groups that espouse hate.

    August 7, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
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