August 13th, 2009
07:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Democrat defends cell phone use during town hall

 Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, was caught on camera talking on a cell phone during a town hall meeting on Tuesday.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, was caught on camera talking on a cell phone during a town hall meeting on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Democratic congresswoman being criticized for chatting on her cell phone during a health care town hall meeting defended her actions Thursday and suggested that the video of the event may have been doctored.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, told CNN she had dialed into a Congressional hotline to get more details about a question that was being asked by a constituent at the town hall in Houston on Tuesday. House Democratic aides have set up a health care war room located in Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's, D-Maryland, office that is designed to help lawmakers answer questions about the legislation.

"It appears on the video - maybe it's a doctored video - but how I explain it is this: First of all, I take calls from my constituents, but that was not a call that I took," Jackson-Lee said. "I dialed the hotline number to get a better answer."

"It was not disrespectful because I was seeking information for the very town hall I was in," she said. "No offense was intended."

But Jackson Lee would not elaborate when pressed on whether she believes the YouTube video of her talking on the cell phone had been manipulated.

"I know nothing about the video and I'm not going to comment on it," she said. "All I'm going to say to you is, 'I enjoyed speaking to that young mother.'"

Jackson Lee said she stayed after the event to talk more with the woman who was asking her a question while she was on the phone. The congresswoman said she "bonded" with the questioner after the meeting.

"The lady did not ask for an apology," she said. "We became good friends."


Filed under: Health care • Sheila Jackson Lee
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Rick

    Jesse Jackson in a skirt.

    August 13, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    What a completely inane piece of fluff journalism....sort of fitting, since the criticism is so inane to begin with.

    August 13, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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