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. HEH

    just wait until the Labor Union members start showing up! We'll see how vocal the repubs are when facing the big men of unions!!

    August 7, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  2. Change begins in 2012

    WRONG CNN, the bused in fat, no work, union hacks were pushing women and the elderly out of the room and your coward in chief SENT THEM.

    Keep up the good work Obama, all you will have left are the blacks and the union thugs to vote for you in 2012 as the independents, whites, elderly and after this video is shown, women.

    This was a coordinated effort by the unions and the WH, hope and change coward, nah, more of the same.

    Four and the door, experiment failed.

    August 7, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. keenaber

    All those acting like hooligans should stop.When u dont want to hear stay at home.Dont look like uncivilised people.I though only in the third world are acting so, please show good example for other countries, respect ur Nation and ur president too.

    August 7, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. Fearful

    These mobs have absolutely nothing to do with health care reform. Listen to their chants, hear their cries, observe their anger, read their blogs. These mobs are reminiscent of the mobs who picnicked at lynchings, beat school buses and shouted obscenities at black children who were bussed into white schools, fought against integration of schools and housing – they're anger has everything to do with having an African-American president in the office. It does not matter that the economy is showing signs of improving. They could care less that he is doing the best he can do with what he inherited. I pray for President Obama daily. I've seen this anger before and I know what it leads to.

    August 7, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  5. Angus McDugan

    I love how the libs are trying to brand public concern as (manufacturing public anger). Why not the same branding when libs are concerned about an issue.

    August 7, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. Terry from Texas

    Conservobot, like zombies rising from the grave at the bidding of their masters, "spontaneously" show up together with preprinted signs, chanting the same slogans, shouting down other opinions. This technique was created by former Texas Congressman Tom Delay when he dispatched teams of chanting assistants to Florida to intimidate those who were recounting votes in 2000. "Let us in. Let us in." they chanted as they banged on the doors.

    The Republican Party is morphing into a sort of American Taliban, which sees itself as the only legitimate party and its ideas as the only ones Americans should be allowed to hear. They see Obama's election as illegitimate. They believe that power is rightfully theirs.

    This is not good for our noble republic, my fellow citizens.

    August 7, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    GOP thugs..... where was all this "anger" while Bush was lying about 9/11 attacks and WMD in Iraq? Where was all this anger while Bush spent TRILLIONS of dollars of his fake wars?

    GOP thuggery and nothing more.

    August 7, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. cassamandra

    Legitimate differences - and their respectful and intelligent articulation - are the heartblood of democracy. The behavior of the anti-health-reform crowd (aided, abetted, financed by Republicans and the health insurance industry) is not just a disgrace, it's a warning of democracy's impending death in the US. If the right does not regain a sense of its grave responsibility very soon, it will either disappear - good news at the very least in the short run, to be sure - or destroy this country.

    August 7, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. cbc

    I can't beleive the GOP is sitting back and letting itself be identified with these people. Republicans really have to distance themselves from what appear to be mentally ill and uneducated losers, or that's all they will left in the party.

    August 7, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. Kentucky

    The Conservative reaction to health care reform reminds me of the Conservative reaction to the civil rights movement in the 1960's. There seems to be hatred and threats of violence aimed at anyone who has an opinion that is not in line with keeping things the same. It seems that conservative seniors who enjoy having Government health insurance are very selfish in their not wanting people with diseases, like cancer and type 1 diabetes, to have Government health insurance. I want it for me, but I could care less about anyone else???

    August 7, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. SaL

    Perfect example of ignorance.

    I wounder how the working people in Florida would feel if we cut Social Security and Medicare. I'm pretty sure they would not be that happy to pay for all those retirees.

    It still baffles me that some people oppose this so violently. Don't they want to have the same health plan than their congressman, their senators.
    i sure do.

    August 7, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  12. Expat American

    During the Cheney Paper Tiger Bush Administration, many Republicans frothed at the mouth in glee at the idea of invading the privacy of American citizens, at painting any and all minorities in America as terrorists (even Mr. Moon Shadow), praising their 'values' while Iraqi women and children lost their lives. Now they are reduced to scuffles at town hall meetings – as they happily turn a blind eye to the past 8 years and paint themselves much like their new leader as a 'victim' while stuffing their faces with Big Macs and ‘SuperSize Me’ milkshakes.

    August 7, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  13. mike

    i fear this is only the beginning. the class warfare is getting ugly.

    just wait until medicare is bankrupted.

    just wait until social security is bankrupted.

    August 7, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. Rick in OP

    This is just the beginning. The Obama Administration has no clue of the rage that is boiling out here.

    August 7, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  15. Larry Kraus

    i only wish i knew when my rep was having a town hall meeting so i could go and yell just say yes. I would also love to get his views on how old the earth is. i worry that he is of the opinion that the earth is 6,000 years old.

    August 7, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  16. Robert

    Insurance companies and Drug Companies are causing all the problems because they make huge money stealing from America. My mother, father, grand father were doctors and they told me this is true.

    August 7, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. was Rush there?

    were they giving out free OxyCottin?

    GOPers have no shame

    A forum to talk about the bill is their stage to disrupt

    Any kind of open debate is no good to the party of 'no'

    what is 'read the bill'? If you are there to discuss the bill then that is EXACTLY what you are doing, talking about the bill. 'Read the bill' is a ploy to waste time and not talk about what is in the bill and its alternatives

    Follow the money, who is disrupting, what do they gain by disrupting

    Healthcare does not want their profit margin reduced, neither does the GOP politicians that are getting campaign donations

    August 7, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  18. Sniffit

    Real mature, GOPers. You're doing more damage to yourselves by getting people to behave this way while spouting misinformation, and once again you seem not to realize it.

    August 7, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  19. Kansan

    It's not going to be too much longer before one of these right wing nut jobs brings one of their precious guns with them and starts blasting away at people...there is no low the GOP won't go...

    August 7, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  20. cbc

    I also can't believe I spelled believe wrong then accused other people of not being smart...

    August 7, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  21. Ms. White

    If government health plans are so bad, so wrong, give up your Medicare/Medicaid benefits and/or do not receive these benefits when you reach the age of 65.

    August 7, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  22. mother and sister of soldiers

    Exactly what will happen in this country if the government takes over health care....revolt! I for one do not want Big Brother dictating to me nor do I want them having access to all my financial records.

    August 7, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  23. Ben in NM

    In another decade, this crowd would have been a lynch mob. Some of these right-wingers probably descended from a long line of lynchers. Now they have signs and chants instead of a rope.

    August 7, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  24. kaye Verner

    these hecklers are hired by republican leaders– maiinly the money people__ to cause division in our country. thr insurance companies have a lot to loose if Obamas plan is approved

    August 7, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  25. David

    This disruptive plan by the GOP only pushes traditional, moderate and thinking Republicans AWAY from the GOP, and makes it more clear that what the Democrats offer is really our ONLY option.

    Over 76% of Americans support President Obama's Healthcare Reform with a strong Public Option.

    At this point, these town hall meetings are now only a stage set up to expose the face of the New GOP?

    August 7, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
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