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.

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

    Why don't we reform the current health insurance programs that the government runs to see the so called great saving before we add millions of people to a new entitlement program.

    August 7, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    The tyranny here is the mob violence which is being instigated by the radical right wing in this country. They can't stand that the majority of Americans turned away from them in the last election so now they try to subvert the democratic process by sending their thugs out to disrupt important meetings. They have deluded the uneducated and simple minded into believeing their rhetoric and use these, their tools, to threaten and disrupt what should be democratic meetings. They are the enemies of our nation and they are striking from within.

    August 7, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  3. Larry

    It's pathetic the Republicans have to resort to this sort of tactic.

    Our country desperately needs health care reform.

    August 7, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  4. blindbear

    This amounts to incitement to riot by the RNC. The way their echo chambers get folks riled up and irrational, I wonder how long it'll be until we see violence. Where's the line going to be drawn? Just pushing and shoving? Maybe a few beatings? Maybe somebody will decide that the best solution will be to shoot a few congressmen or other officials. We've seen that this type of incitement can bring the crazies out to shoot abortion doctors.

    This is scary. It's unconscionable behavior by a political party. Somebody's going to get killed.

    August 7, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. jim

    "tyranny." what a wonderful accusation. If government control of health care is tyranny, are they suggesting Medicare be revoked?

    August 7, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  6. The black spider

    Hey CNN your Ticher should be titled:
    " Republican anarchics disrupting real debate about health care"
    It's amazing how this stupid paid morons goes from town hall to town hall to disrupt civilized and educated poeple trying to a have an honnest debate about health care.
    It's also amazing that 90% of the hecklers lives on medicaid but protest against government run health care systems which by the way has nothing to do with the current proposition on health care reform.
    Oh I forgot Americans always vote against their own interest because the majority are easily manipulable by the media and ready to believe anything they are told without verifying any fact. It's very sad

    August 7, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  7. tjaman

    Terrorist thugs, showing up simply to make any exchange of information impossible. I don't care how angry you are you're disruptive, a disturbance of the peace and an at least unwitting patsy for a megabloated insurance industry that is completely out of hand.

    Your First Amendment right to free speech isn't more important than everyone else's First Amendment rights to assemble and if you've got some grieveances to redress you can do so _peaceably_, and with some respect for your fellow citizens and your elected representatives.

    August 7, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. Larry

    Intelligent people do not shout down other people

    If they do not respect others, then they have no respect for themselves

    August 7, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. JB

    CNN- Be fair. You regurgutate the DNC talking points, using the phrases "bussed in mobs" on the Republicans dime etc. . . .and yet, how did you react to Code Pink, MoveOn.org and Acorn. They showed up yelling and screaming, disrupting town hall meetings. But, not a problem. They drew hitler mustaches on pictures of Bush. They cheered when someone threw a shoe at our President. Do some research. Who is Saul Alinsky? Why no discussion on Obamas idol? Alinsky specifically says, you have got to get people mad. Obama has used that tactic. And now, when that tactic is used against them, the White House cries foul. These situations are what make people question the goals of your station.

    August 7, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. NJ

    Isn't it interesting that it's only Democratic congressman who are being disrupted and no Republican's. Golly who could be causing this?

    HUUUUUMMMMMMM ; -/

    August 7, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Sarah

    The mass of people opposing this Health Care bill are showing their frustration at not being heard. Our elected officials are exhibiting their usual mind set, "The public doesn’t know what's best so we will decide for them". No matter how we express our disapproval of this bill the media & Obamanites are turning a deaf ear to us and say we are radicals. As voters and citizens we are tired of this!! We have tried emails, phone calls, etc. but to no avail and we have a right to be heard.

    August 7, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. Terry, TX

    Well I guess I am part of the angry mob.....they need to read the bills and be able to explain. I will take it further .....read them all....the three healthcare bills of the Congress and the two that the Senate are working on. Social Security is broke, Medicare is broke, Medicaid is broke, the US Post Office is broke, Amtrak got a bailout, Cash for Clunkers went broke......don't touch Health Care....these morons aren't qualified to restructure and then bankrupt our health system. Please.

    August 7, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. jp,michigan

    As an Independent and a retired Registered Nurse, I have time to watch C-Span and the committee meeting (energy and commerce) its a shame that the people we put in the W.H. and on the Hill forget to vote to what the people who put them in office want. Instead they vote according to party lines and or the President. The town hall meeting that are happening now are the only way Americans can question their representatives on the Hill. E-mail don't get answered or you get rhetoric.

    August 7, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. Penny Kovarik

    I don't understand how anyone could oppose health care reform ? These people are nuts... They are falling right into the hands of the insurance company's...I won't even tell you what I think of the Republican Party... They have the nerve to talk about Pres. Obama, when they had that wacko George Bush in office for 8 years... They don't want to talk about George... Who would? He did a pretty good job of hurting our country at home and around the world...I was very embarrased to have a President representing our Country that couldn't even talk right...

    August 7, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. Daniel, Atlanta, GA, ex-Reagan Republican

    As a white male, I am outraged and the stupidity that still exists among the racist whites of middle America! I thought the South was bad, but people should be ashamed, especially anyone who calls themselves a "Christian!" Get over your fears people!

    August 7, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. Bobbie V

    As an independent I truly think this is so sad... Freedom of speech is a two way street. It has to be, so that accurate information is exchanged in a constructive manner. This make the GOP look so desperate and extremist that perhaps they risk loosing their own cause. It definitely makes me think that perhaps the democrats are right when it comes to health care reform and these orchestrated mobs.

    I hope this is not a forecast of things to come during election season...

    August 7, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. Emmanuel Goldstein

    What I find amusing is the left's shock that the right has started to adopt the tactics that the left has employed for years.

    Further, they are dredging up the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy talk again, which is also amusing because it portrays the right as better organized than it really is.

    News flash folks: The right is not that well-organized. Never has been, never will be. Organizing those on the right is like trying to herd cats. I know, I tried.

    August 7, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. Scott, Tucson

    What we have here are two camps of opposing views. The smart democrats, republicans and independents who have read in part or all of Obama's health care bill rightly opposes it. While the dumb leftist wing of the democrats to include the UAW and ACORN folks have not and is in lockstep and are Lemmings for Obama, Reid and Peolsi.

    August 7, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. Mario, mtl, ca.

    What a shame

    August 7, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. Barbara Caniff

    The Republican party is a disgrace to the United States. They do not have the interest of theAmerican people at heart. I think they should arrest all the people who organize the protestors and put them in jail and throw away the key. Obama is trying to help every American have health care and they are trying to destroy him. I think he will be one of the greatest Presidents we have ever had.

    August 7, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Maybe these big-mouthed conspiracy-theorist shameful seniors should go back to kindergarten and learn how to "get along."

    And I am a senior. These people embarrass me.

    August 7, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. ANGIE IN PA

    FOX NEWS
    GLEN BECK
    SEAN HANNITY
    RUSH LIMBAUGH

    Are stirring up this HATE Shame on them for dividing America, They are causing all of this anger and violence encouring their viewers lying to them about this Healthcare these town halls are not democracy this is pure NASTY HATE!! BOYCOTT FOXNEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 7, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. rhoward

    What has happened to civility in this country? People have the right to make their views known but the hatred and rudeness on both sides is appalling and serves no useful purpose.

    August 7, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    The unseemly mob behavior isn't surprising when they receive marching orders from talk show entertainers like Limbaugh and Coulter.

    August 7, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  25. Pukey GOP

    I sure hope the conservative pundits are happy with their encouragement of such "bullying" tactics.

    Doesn't anyone see the parallel between these actions and the hundreds of "protesters" that went into Florida during the recount in 2000.

    Wake up America.....don't let the conservative wackos take away decent health care reform by intimidation and fear.

    Yes folks.....intimidation and fear....hallmarks of the GOP. No facts.....just scare, fear and bully.

    These meetings are going to get more violent when more people realize that this all a game the conservatives are playing

    Stand up to them!!!

    August 7, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
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