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. rob

    A close look at this video clearly shows a few very large individuals pushing people around and intimidating the group. The story yesterday spelled out the tactics to be used by these thugs.

    The Dems can demonize the protesters all they want and the MSM can parrot them but in the end these are just people who are frustrated and angry with the direction that this Administration and the Dems in Congress are taking the country.

    August 7, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. Dallas

    After watching this video, I experienced a new feeling and was trying to pinpoint what exactly it was.....ahhh yes, that's it.......it was SHAME. I am a Floridian and seeing my fellow citizens act like an ignorant mob made me realize that the educational system here has a long way to go! Better home school the kids....

    It's also interesting to note that the Democrats sat patiently and respectfully through 8 years of Republican rule and policies, yet the Republicans have no such RESPECT for their new leadership. Republicans, you truly are the party of hate and history will judge you as such.

    P.S. Thanks for bringing your "ideas" and "wisdom" to the above town hall meeting, really helps "move the nation forward".....nah Billy Bob, give me them there guns and nah Billy Bob, cut my taxes cuz I hate them there liberals cuz that's what Fox News done said and I do as Fox News done says so! When are we bombing Iran?

    August 7, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Chip

    Supposedly, these people are "shutting down a discussion" over healthcare refrorm. Where was the discussion about healthcare reform before it was trying to be rushed through congress?

    August 7, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. gt

    sounds like a act up or a peta protest.....

    August 7, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Laurie

    Crazy, hateful behavior brought to us by big insurance companies and the Republican party!

    August 7, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Tree

    I don't necessarily agree with the shouting from both sides of the issue, it only makes your argument less effective. My only question would be addressed to the politician "Why won't you take the same medical plan that you are offering to the rest of us". If you asked that question in a calm voice then it would be interesting to hear the answer.

    August 7, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. T KS

    The cops arrested and even tased some old drunk guy who was yelling at a baseball game the other day. Why aren't these rioters being arrested?

    I know many people who say they would be afraid to go to any town meetings for fear of the violence coming from these corporate sponsored agitators. They are interfering with democracy and the democratic process. They are disorderly, apparently dangerous, and should be arrested for disorderly conduct, not given a free pass under some bogus interpretation of "free speech."

    Yelling and screaming and causing violence at a public meeting isn't "free speech." It's akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater. Arrest these people and don't tolerate their thug tactics.

    August 7, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. ~~ July ~~

    How sad that people ... actually this people sold themselfs for a piece of bread and water ..... they will do anything that some RICH man tells them ............. sad sad .... oh yeah and pathic!

    August 7, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. dprosenthal

    It is truly a sad day in America when citizens must resort to near violence to be noticed by their own representatives! It is obvious that they care more about supporting the party than in supporting the will of the people.

    August 7, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. J.S.

    Isn't the "fishy" reporting of emails to the White House against the law? Didn't some supporters of the Health care reform tear the shirt off a businessman?

    August 7, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Rob

    Notice how they didn't really get bad until the Obama inspired mobs started showing up. We've got the Obama mobs, the 'fishy' police, so when will we start seeing Obama's secret police force.

    Awfully funny how these dictator-like things you libs were ranting about Bush having are now actually taking place, now that your guy's in the office. I guess you want to show us how real tyranny works.

    August 7, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Jodi

    I think with the amount of people showing up to these town hall meetings congress members would take notice that maybe americans are not happy with how they are handling healthcare. Maybe they would listen if they could actually tell us what the bill was all about. There is a lack of responsibility by elected members of congress.

    August 7, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  13. Gary

    We need to get angry and vocal because this congress is not listening to us. We do not want to have a public health insurance option that will draw more and more people into public insurance as a trick to get to single payer socialized medicine. What we want is:

    1. MALPRACTICE REFORM
    2. Train more doctors/nurses/physical therapists
    3. Bring more manufacturing jobs back to the US
    4. Encourage more companies to provide better insurance with tax breaks.
    5. Encourage insurance companies not to ask about pre-conditions with tax breaks.
    6. Encourage people to select private insurance with tax breaks.

    Less government, more private solutions. That is what we all would like to see.

    August 7, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. Pat F

    Notice: The ONLY orchestrated attendees were orchestrated by the Democrats.

    Democrats – Lying, hypocritical, anti-free speech, anti-working family, pro-dictatorship.

    August 7, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Marcus, Great Lakes IL

    I heard an angry woman at one of the town hall meetings. She stated that, "I don't have health insurance, I don't have health care but, I don't want the government to mess with my medicare."

    What!?!?!?!

    Lady, just who do you think runs Medicaid and Medicare? You pay in $196.00 per month, when your husband has to have that heart transplant, do you think you actually footed the medical bill??

    If you had none of the above, are you willing to risk your home to pay for medical billing costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars? Or are you going to claim bankruptcy and allow the rest of us to pick up your tab by having our health care cost rise.

    The ignorant will inherit the earth...

    August 7, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. katiec

    I have never in my life witnessed politics as they are today.
    For a political party to sacrifice the welfare of the American people for their party, personal gains, undying support of big business is unheard of and unforgivable.
    The GOP and their lobbyists supporters have become our
    nations most dangerous, domestic terrorists.
    They are out to destroy our country and us.

    August 7, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. donttreadonme

    No need for pushing and shoving people lets all grow up!

    I am quite suprised that Obama, Pelosi and the Dems would throw gas on the fire by calling citizens a paid "Mob" and other insults. This will only fuel additional anger on both sides of this issue.

    August 7, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. T'SAH from Virginia

    TRUE AMERICANS???? Maybe! If this keeps up it would make it easier for President Obama to make a decision.

    What I don't understand is that SOME PEOPLE feel the health care system is NOT BROKEN because they are fortunate enough to have HALFWAY DECENT health insurance and care!!! They are not thinking about those that DO NOT have health insurance or care!!

    If there is ONE American without health insurance that is ONE too many! Everyone should be able to acquire health insurance and get GOOD health care – CASE presented POINT made!!

    This is CRAZY! Shouting and carrying on like uncivilized animals and NOTHNG accomplished – Hmm, does this look familiar – same going on in Congress!!!

    August 7, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. BigC

    Listening to these angry mobs is very disappointing especially from our seniors. Shouting and not listening shows that many who opposes health care reform have bought into the Republican idea that heath care will be a government take over. These people seem to be very brainwashed with Republican ideology believes. Most of the people at the town halls complaining are Republicans. They have no input to the discussion, but rather just shout a lot stupidity. Once these washed up old white folks and some blacks die off in 10 years, then this country will become a more perfect union. Can't wait until this happens.

    August 7, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. makesUwonder

    Give me a freakin break.........."turns ugly".....These people were voicing their opinions and are sick of the lies. What's "ugly" is the way this administration lies and spends and spends and spends. I wish this would stay this "ugly" but I fear it will only get uglier.

    "My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results in too much government."

    August 7, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. Ryan, Omaha

    That's not manufactured anger, or people shipped in on buses. Those Thank God people are starting to wake up.

    August 7, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. Jeff

    All incited by Glenn Beck.and the Tampa 912 group he has been promoting.

    August 7, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Gina Mays

    Do you know how he can stimulate the economy and actually do some good? How about him condemning the homes with drywall, get these sick families out of them and have them rebuilt. That's a great way to stimulate the economy – but that seems to much like the right think to do.

    August 7, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. Pepou

    Yes, it reminds me of pre-Nazi Germany when a rabid, racist, ignorant mob was ready to burn books and later on Jews.
    Is this where this country is headed ?

    August 7, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Clay

    Yet CNN continues to label these outrages as "grassroots". There's nothing grassroots about it. They're totally scripted and financed by the healthcare lobbies. If you're going to report on it, fine. But get your facts straight first.

    August 7, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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