August 11th, 2009
10:10 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama goes to health-care battlefront with N.H. town hall

(CNN) - President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting in New Hampshire Tuesday, placing himself at the battlefront of the push to overhaul the nation's ailing health-care system.

Related video: Obama to give facts, aide says

Similar meetings by congressional members in recent weeks have generated heated and sometimes disruptive debate, demonstrating the high emotions and
political stakes involved in an issue that will affect every American.

Democrats have accused opponents of health-care changes of organizing protests intended to drown out the debate, while Republicans respond the public anger is a genuine response to what they call excessive and misguided legislation.

Videos of some protests circulating on the Internet show raucous crowds heckling their representatives in Congress and carrying posters with devil horns drawn on lawmakers' heads, swastikas or Obama with Adolf Hitler's mustache.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, who had a town hall meeting disrupted by angry protesters earlier this month, said he had never experienced such emotion in his 15 years of holding such forums.

Democratic Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina even had a death threat phoned into his office. A caller said that if Miller supported Obama's plan, it could cost him his life, Miller told CNN.

Obama, just back from a North American summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, seeks to focus the discussion on specifics of Democratic proposals that have cleared committees in both the House and Senate.

He and other Democratic leaders complain that Republican opponents and right-wing political commentators are spreading misinformation about the proposed legislation.

In his weekend radio address, Obama sought to dispel what he called "the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid or bring about a government takeover of health care. That's simply not true."

Republicans respond that the outrage is real, not manufactured.

"These are average Americans that are concerned about this long litany of borrowing and spending and bailouts and government takeover of one industry after another. And this government takeover of health care is just the last straw for many Americans," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, told "Fox News" Monday.

The White House has launched what it calls a Health Insurance Reform Reality Check Web site designed to combat what the administration considers misinformation about the issue. The Web page features Obama aides discussing various aspects of health care reform.

Obama calls a health-care overhaul essential for ensuring long-term economic stability. However, congressional action on a health-care overhaul has slowed due to strong Republican opposition. Neither chamber met Obama's desired goal of passing a bill before their August recess.

In particular, the Republicans and some Democrats reject a government-funded public health insurance option, which they believe will lead to a government takeover of the health-care system. Most Democrats want a public option to ensure coverage is available to virtually all Americans and provide competition to private insurers.

Filed under: Health care • New Hampshire • President Obama
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. AXH

    NO healthcare reform, this maddness needs to stop!

    As a taxpayer, I'm perfectly happy with my health-care and do not want this plan. Obama and Congress need to stop ramming this plan down our throats.

    This is not good reform for America!

    August 11, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. rich

    People need to start talking about their experiences with insurance companies. They need to talk about how the insurance companies have denied their claims based on pre-existing conditions. They need to talk about how they are going bankrupt because they got sick. I also find it interesting how people are easily scared by rich people. Why do you think rich people and insurance companies are fighting so hard to stop health care reform. It is because of the size of profits they are making from health insurance. Don’t take my word for it look up the profits from health insurance providers. Educate yourself! Don't believe all the scare tactics. I used to work at an insurance company and trust me they have people dedicated to looking through medical records to deny claims based on pre-existing conditions. If people would like information about what everything means in their health policy they can call a health insurance advocate. I encourage people to call and advocate and then tell me if you are one illness away from bankruptcy.

    August 11, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. RDS

    When people get to the point that they actually believe the plan contains euthanasia, death panels and government takeovers they are beyond the point of reasoning. What I can't figure out is why they would go to townhall meetings when they don't/won't believe the answers to the question they're asking anyways. The laughable part is the headline "Healthcare activist gets hurt at townhall now asking for donations to cover his doctor bills, he doesn't have health insurance" classic you couldn't even make the ish up!

    August 11, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. seebofubar

    Let's see if this is a real meeting or a pack of Obama stooges packed in for a media show. I hope he gets his butt kicked.

    August 11, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Wake Up

    Obama's liberal minion news media loves blaming this on "mobs" or "coordinated efforts". Largely, it is people who are just fed up with govt. spending, freedoms being lost and losing the priniciples this country is founded on. Maybe CNN and the other Obama backers can be honest in their reporting. A sleeping giant has awoken.

    August 11, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. Sue

    Obama is fighting for health care while Michelle is planting Poisonous White House Garden. What is wrong with this picture????

    August 11, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. Mississippi Mike

    Wow, New Hampshire is a real hot spot alright. Do your really think the folks in flyover country are going to be impressed with your attempts to appease your buddies in New England? Even if this townhall goes off as planned, the rest of us are still going to be less than impressed.

    August 11, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    I hope and pray that the Secret Service does their due diligence and ensures the President’s safety. There is a venomous broth out there, and he is wading right into middle of it. Godspeed Mr. President, we are behind you!

    August 11, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. Brian0901

    I think some of this "rowidiness" needs to stop. Get a grip and act like adults. Some people are so stupid they believe acting like an moron gets their point across

    August 11, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. Keith in Austin

    The depiction of average Americans being unruly mobs is yet another misrepresentation of reality by the DNC. I am certain that the crowd attending Obama's "supposed" front line involvement will be hand-selected by DNC personnel and seated with a bunch of liberal schills!

    America is speaking volumes right now regarding the lack of trust they have for King Barack, Queen Pelosi and Prince Harry! The Dems better listen or their political careers will implode for sure!

    August 11, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. white female

    Let's please show some respect for our country, and this President.
    He has ben doing a great Job, and has only tried to do what is best for all mankind.
    Don't let the hate and evil of others cloud your minds, we're better than that, people of the USA. Why wouldn't you want everyone to have some kind of health care, even if you already have a plan that you like, others may not be able to afford any health care.
    Let open our hearts and mind to the good of this world towards others.
    May God bless this country, and this President Obama and his Admin. for what he is trying to do.
    Mr. President you have been doing a very good job don't listen to those fake poll numbers, because they don't ask everyone in this country (usa)who elected you to office.

    August 11, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Change_Has_Begun

    You go Mr. President – we are behind you on this all the way. Make these greedy insurance companies liable and create strong competition for them so that they will not exploit the American public anymore.

    August 11, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Let's see who they try to SHIP IN for this townhall meeting. And let's see just how far things will go before common sense kicks in and they arrest one of these bogus interloper demonstrators. And let's see if at long last we can have some semblance of civil discourse out of respect for the President. Let's see....

    August 11, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. worriedmom

    I am watching Arlan Specter town hall meeting in PA and I can tell you, once again CNN your headlines are so misleading!!! No one is getting rowdy, unless CNN considers people clapping when someone says they oppose the health reform bill!! You Liberals cannot stand it that there are people actually questioning and disagreeing with policies from the White House. You Libs get your feelings hurt so easy! You can dish it out but you can't take it!! Well like my Momma always said "You play with the Big Dogs, you better be willing to fight with the Big Dogs" So go take your Valium, drink your Kool-Aid and go back to your Land of Oz!!

    August 11, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. Randolph Carter

    Here's a simple way to exclude "outside agitators" from town hall meetings: Check people's driver's licenses on the way in. Anyone who doesn't live in the congressional district in question is turned away at the door. What say you? Here's another neat trick for you congress people leading these meetings: Get some good earplugs. Hearos are a decent brand. If people start acting up, slip those puppies in and point your microphone directly into the PA speakers in the room. I guarantee that the painful screeching feedback will shut people up. Just trying to help. Have a nice day!

    August 11, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. aria

    HOW CAN ANYBODY TAKE THE CROWDS AT THESE TOWN HALLS SERIOUSLY? They are filled with paid protesters from the pharmaceutical industry. I don't believe ANY of these people.

    They can yell, clap, and act angry all they want. They are just working to ensure higher medicine and health care costs.

    This just looks very, very bad for the Party of NO. I am a former life long Republican. I will NEVER in my lifetime vote for another Republican. NEVER.

    August 11, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. eric amtalla

    Why now? The republicans spent 8 years waging war on terror and awarding massive tenders to their cronies and only now they realise health care matters to their on people(american) and they have rise up.

    Bad losers!

    August 11, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. GI Joe

    It's a shame a few paranoid people are the loudest The real sin is that they seem to be following Limbaugh, Palin, and Gingrich. Limbaugh is a drug-addicted right-wing nut, Palin has long been known as one who incites hate and fear, and Gingrich was rejected by our Government and the people of this country YEARS AGO.

    Think, people. Insurance Co. PROFITS are up over 400% in just 7 years. When will YOUR insurance be denied for cancelled?

    August 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. Yea right!!

    There should be concern over this issue. After observing the many town halls. I am almost sure that these meetings are planned to be disruptive. Everyone is just anti-Obama. That's all this is about. It's not about the health care issue, which is a shame. This is an extremely important issue. And all of the yelling and anti-Obama feel in these meetings are taking away from the congressmen trying to answer questions about this bill. Many, many of us have not read the bill and are hearing about others' interpretations which includes those that are anti-Obama in the media, i.e. FOX NEWS. I think CNN is doing a good job in communicating all sides. The congressman, I think Demint or whoever that was that said something like "it's time go in for the kill, we can't let Obama get away on this." Closet racists are coming out all over the place. It's ok to disagree, but disagree on the facts not the fact that Mr. Obama is the president & we can't let him be successful on anything.

    August 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Keep on pushing Mr. President. It's clear to most Americans that there are traitors amongst us. By traitor I mean politicians in cahoots with the insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

    August 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Lauren

    Why does this caption include a picture of a woman being restrained? President Obama's town hall has not happened yet, and this picture is from someone else's townhall, not President Obama's town hall.

    August 11, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. Brig

    Keep attacking us for being concerned about this healthcare plan. It is only making people madder. I have never seen people so pissed off and Democrats are only making it worse.

    August 11, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. J.P.

    Watching Specter right now in his health townhall... he's getting clobbered.

    Liberals, listen up... if you continue down this path, the American voters will, WILL, W-I-L-L send you packing in 2010.

    Honestly people, if Republicans had the ability to lead people and rally people and get them out to protest (as liberals are contending), don't you think they'd still be in power?

    The liberals' overreach has awakened the sleeping giant known as The Silent Majority and they're suddenly amazed the American people aren't just dancing along merrily to the fife the Pied Piker (Obama) is playing.

    2010 is going to be an electoral bloodbath and will make 1994 look like a routine changing of the guard.

    August 11, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Loup Garou 782

    How many SEIU people is the obama bringing along with him to insure that things run smoothly in this meeting, and anyone asking questions he does not like will be invited to leave the meeting. And we have all seen what happens when unions don't like something. In my 81 years I have witnessed many uses of union tactics.

    August 11, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. alitro

    It's very sad that a handful of hate mongers towards Obama would create such an uproar just because he is trying to get Health Care for the ones who do not have, I wish that they would happen to be in a position where their health care is compromised, I guess then they would feel the pain. What goes around, comes around. God does not sleep!!

    August 11, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
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