August 10th, 2009
01:51 PM ET
2 years ago

Town halls push on amid protest fears

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, says her goal is to have a 'civil' debate at town hall meetings.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, says her goal is to have a 'civil' debate at town hall meetings.

(CNN) – Senators, like many in the House, continue to face grilling from constituents concerned about proposed health care legislation before Congress.

Although some meetings have been "civil," as one senator pointed out Monday, at least one lawmaker has received a threat from those angry about a plan being devised by Democrats.

Three House committees are working have been working on a plan. On the Senate side, two committees are working on a proposal - before negotiations begin between top members of both chambers.

And the negotiations are heating up. On Thursday, Obama met privately at the White House with the "Gang of Six," three Democrats and three Republicans working to find middle ground on the issue.

Not all town hall meetings have been raucous. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, held a town hall meeting Monday morning in Kennett, Missouri, to help clarify what she says is some of the misinformation that is being circulated.

Meanwhile, for one member of Congress, the anger over health care has become dangerous.

Full Story


Filed under: Congress • Health care
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Donna from Colorado Springs

    It's a shame that just because the Republicans cannot come up with their own viable healthcare plan, they have to trash the one the Dems have by lying point blank to people and distorting everything that the president has said. They are targeting the poor confused seniors in this country because they are vulnerable to scare tactics.They bus in thousands of people with scripts in hand to disrupt and confuse every town hall meeting they can find. What a pathetic ploy by the Republican party, but that is the way they do business! They are so afraid of change in this country and they will do and say anything tokeep the status quo. I wonder what the protesters would do if they were told to hand in their medicare cards and they weren't eligible to receive their checks every month.......they would scream bloody murder, but guess what? Medicare is a government funded health plan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They would shut up and go home real fast if that were to happen!

    August 10, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. sarah

    Republicans and their friends LOBBYIST are doing what ever takes to kill Pres. Obama Helth Plan. Using scare tactics , disinforming public and organizing disruption at Town Hall Meetings is so abvious.
    I would like to see Sen. Mitch MacConnell to give up his fat health cvoverrage and pass it to one of millions of American who are without
    health insurance. The problem is so many Americans belive in lies being spread by Lobbyist and Republicans.
    Take a look at Canada, every one has Insurance coverage and Canada did not bancrupt, such Critics as Sen MacConnel are spreading falls informations about Canadian Health Plan.
    Ask an avarage Canadian if you want the truth.

    August 10, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Nori Ondre

    CNN why don't you run this story?

    Town hall disruptions around the country have led to some outbreaks of violence. Unions participating in town halls have received death threats. At an event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) last week, the threat of violence led her aides to call the police after one attendee dropped a gun.

    August 10, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Jo Jo

    Why don’t someone do something about these rowdy people? This is not freedom of speech. These people are going to these meeting to purposely disrupt them. If this was a concert and people became disruptive and unruly, they would be ushered out of the event. The same should apply here. It’s not fair for those who have legitimate questions and concerns to have to be subjected to such foolishness. These people are not there because they are concerned about healthcare, because if they were, they would be asking questions and not shouting stupid accusations. It’s time law enforcement steps in and throws these thugs out! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 10, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Chris Kirkpatrick

    As long as health care is a complicated topic for discussion there will be misunderstanding, as has become clearly obvious lately. And how can you blame them. The actual document reads like Japanese stereo instructions and is written in legalese, a form that by design keeps all but the most die-hards from understanding it. Because it is so complicated, people are taking the easy path to clarification, listening to others, some of whom are more interested in promoting their political agendas than dispensing true and accurate synopses of the document.

    The president and Congress have a real challenge on their hands. How do they explain something so complicated to Americans in a way that makes sense? Until they can, however, such misunderstandings and angry outbursts are bound to continue.

    August 10, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Just keep your fingers crossed GOPers...I'm putting in an application for Euthanasia Czar, so you might want to make sure your things are in order...

    August 10, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Ron Ft. Myers

    They are going to do what they want to do regardless of how their "bosses" feel. After all, we are all too stupid.

    August 10, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Tatianna

    CNN just aired short video clip of town hall meeting. A Dr in the audience politly asked Dem Senator Scott a question and Scott stood up, pointed his finger, angrily yelling at Dr. saying if yot want to discuss this, we can do it one on but not here. Simply amazing, Scott didnt know how to answer guestion, so he reacts with hostility. Shame on dem Senators And as for Obama attending four town hall meetings this week, (regardless of being president) will face the same protesters opposing healthcare reform. Obama forgets our govt system is FOR THE PEOPLE AND BY THE PEOPLE. Our voices will be loud n clear

    August 10, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Linka

    I think the coverage regarding protests at town halls are vastly exaggerated. People are NOT getting answers. They are getting platitudes to allay fears. What are the provisions EXACTLY that deal with elderly. Since goverment agencies are renowned for waste and fraud, where are provisions to protect the funds. What kind of NON POLITICAL oversight will be provided. Like the stimulus, the waste and fraud and agenda money is just stomped on and then forgotten in the rush to pass a bill. ANSWER the questions with the actual provision in the bill that citizens are concerned about.

    August 10, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. RDS

    It's one thing to be critical in your questioning of the health care reform, but its a totally different think to be issuing death threats to politicians. It's these fanatical nuts that make those genuinely concerned citizens look like the 'mob'. People like to talk about Obama and the Chicago style politics but look around the only people practicing thug style tactics are those on the right. The did it during the presidential debates and they're doing it now. Nobody is trying to stifle your right to free speech, but for goodness sake act like an adult and learn how to verbalize your opposition, say what parts of the bill you don't like, say what you would be in favor of. I'm sick of the people screaming socialism about everything Obama does. The last time I checked we have been having socialist programs in America for years (public school, police, fire dept, medicare, medicaid, social security) and we haven't turned into a socialist state yet. This constant fear mongering is counterproductive.

    August 10, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Wendy P

    It is a shame that open-minded people can not gather to have an adult discussion on such an important topic. It is clear that many lack critical thinking skills in this country. The health insurance companies are: 1) in business to make a PROFIT; 2) only insure the HEALTHY; and 3) virtually have a MONOPOLY. It is not in their best financial interests to insure the elderly, and those with chronic mental and/or physical illness, so they either do not insure them or charge them an astonomical amount of money. Is that fair? Health care is a basic human right, like an education. Why are Republicans afraid of competition from the govt? That is called CAPITALISM! The govt already insures those on Medicaid, Medicare, on SSI, and those with VA benefits. It is WORKING!

    August 10, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. conniesz

    I would hope that moving forward these town halls will be limited to people who live in the district of the representative presenting/presiding over the meeting. Each Representative does indeed only represent their own district and opinions from outside that district should have no bearing on their decisions.

    I'm sure there is a security check at the entrance – simply adding an ID check to verify the address of the person puts them in the district would do a lot to keep outside agitators away from these meetings. In fact, I'm somewhat perplexed that this isn't being done already.

    August 10, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. MomofFour

    I don't know how an average Joe or Jill cannot afford to support this bill. Its really sad, that instead of reading, people listen to wing nuts on fox to get what they think is the truth.
    We need the healthcare reform.I am a mother, and I know I cannot afford to keep my healthcare. God forbid, if anything happens to my kids, I will be out in the street.
    Dear fellow Americans, please don't fall for the fear-mongering and lies again. Not this time.The GOP will not stop at anything. All they care about is their rich friends and their wallets.

    Thank god for a president who works on behalf of OUR best interests than the lobbyists !
    Go Obama !

    August 10, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    The obamatrons have promoted a high level of demonization directed against tax paying citizens who disagree and/or have questions with whatever they call these things today. These are the same people who denigrated the TEA parties as racist. They either don't understand the mood of the American people or are just trying to shove through some piece of crap legislation for other motives. This is the same people who brought us moveon.org, ACORN, Code Pink and they are crying??????????

    August 10, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Lyle

    Just a bunch of Republican thugs throwing a fit to get their way...so they think. Morons.

    August 10, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. CindyLouWho

    Iam soooo sick of Republicans .....how on earth can anyone approve of this type of politics?

    August 10, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Bluebonnet

    If Obama and the stupid democrats would quit lying and trying to cram crap down our throats, there probably would be civilized townhall meetings!

    August 10, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. andrea -baltimore

    It is so clear to most people watching these are not our so called
    next door American but some body 15 minutes.... GOP look at all the [people at the meeting not screaming, that is where your real votes come from...

    August 10, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. John, Brooklyn, New York

    There is a lot to be said for insuring that government is transparent to the public, which is why the Democrats are working so hard to get back to their grass roots constituents about health care.

    However, the carefully orchestrated mob disruption that is reminiscent of the horrible mobs that descend on poor young women who come to their local family planning clinics.

    Democracy has room for dissent – but mob rule and the threat of violence actually underminds democracy.

    August 10, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. Roger from CA

    These sick wingnuts should burn for all eternity, spreading lies about the most crucial domestic political issue in our lifetimes–health care reform.

    May they lose their jobs and/or their insurance, and may they suffer the financial and health consequences. None of them, obviously, have major illnesses or have children with major illnesses; and none of them have known the fear that losing one's job could doom the life or health of a loved one or one's family's financial well-being.

    I curse them.

    August 10, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Angry American

    The so called President comes up with with a socialistic health care plan that will ruin the possibility of getting any decent health care in this country amongst many other issues and the Democrats are angry because these people voice their opinions. What happened to America, The Free?

    August 10, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  22. Marcus, Great Lakes IL

    Have you noticed that the people doing all the screaming and yelling are old, bitter, white people who believe that they don't need to know the facts in any matter as they have all the answers but no solutions?

    I heard this one woman screaming that she had no insurance, had no health care and didn't want the government to mess with her Medicare, Medicade. WHAT??!!?? Another was talking about Tort Reform by the government, but again, didn't want the government to be involved in health care. Excuse me, make up your mind!!!

    (For the record book, I am a 55 yr old white person)

    August 10, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  23. ~~ July ~~ ( Wise Latina Woman )

    Fox News is like the HAMAS ......
    they shout the hate for everyone to hear ....
    they point fingers at who to hate
    and they supply the bombs .....
    but when the time comes to take the blame they hide and cry foul!

    The people ( old white people ) angry at this town halls are the victims of FOX NEWS ( HAMAS ) that are promise lies and lies ...

    August 10, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. dora

    Shouting out the people you disagree with is not a meeting. Chanting your slogan is not a meeting. Town Hall meetings are supposed to be between members of the community and their representatives, an exchange of ideas and information. Why are the corporate powers that be so afraid of single payer healthcare? Because it means that they will have competition and have to trim their profits. We need to free the media, so it can go back to doing its job, reporting the news, not spinning it.

    August 10, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. Ralph

    I think the current strategy of the extreme right is going to backfire. Republicans should take note, because when it backfires, it will be the whole party that takes the hit, not just the fringe. As the claims get more ridiculous, and it is clearly shown that these claims are false, America will wake up and see what is truly going on. This strategy might still be successful at killing reform, but it may take the GOP with it.

    August 10, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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