August 19th, 2009
08:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Barney Frank goes toe to toe at health care town hall


CNN Correspondent Jim Acosta was on the scene at the Frank town hall. Listen:


(CNN) - Most Congress members conducting town hall meetings this month have chosen a noncombative posture to deal with angry participants who disrupt the proceedings. Not Rep. Barney Frank.

At a lively two-hour meeting Tuesday night in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Frank gave as good as he got in confronting opponents of overhauling the nation's health care system.

The crowded hall had both supporters and detractors, but the opposing side was much louder and more raucous, booing the Massachusetts Democrat from the moment he was introduced and shouting questions and challenges at him throughout.

"You want me to talk about it or do you want to yell?" he asked over and over when interrupted while trying to answer. Continued shouting brought a sterner rebuke.

"Disruption never helps your cause," he said more than once. "It just looks like you're afraid to have rational discussion."

While Frank attempted to respond to all questions, he gave up when one woman compared health care proposals favored by Frank and President Obama to policies of Nazi Germany.

Full story


Filed under: Barney Frank • Health care • Massachusetts
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. NorthEastIndependant

    Notice Barney did not answer the question on whether or not he and the rest of the congresional reps, would take the public option as there own.

    August 19, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Brian0901

    Bravo for Frank. It's about time some shut these morons up.

    August 19, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Randolph Carter the socialist libtard

    Go get 'em, Barney! Have a nice day!

    August 19, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. Donknottz

    Thank You Barney for standing up to these Cartoon Characters. Send the looney toons back to the cartoon network where they belong.

    August 19, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Disruption never helps your cause," he said more than once. "It just looks like you're afraid to have rational discussion."

    Mr. Frank has a good point. The problem with some of these protestors is that they don't listen to the other side. They only want to be heard and not listen to the other side. I don't mind hearing what they have to say, but they must be civil about it. We need discussion and not yelling back and forth.

    August 19, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Emma

    Good for you Barney Frank. I am glad someone decided to take the challenge. My questions has always been – - "where are these people who call themselves Americans living?" They don't even take the time to research an issue and then ask intelligent questions.

    I hope this is not the way they deal with their children or family crisis. If this is the approach that is used in American homes today, let me escape, I don't want to be a part of a group of rude, independents who are exercising their right to "ignorance."

    As much as Americans hated Bush/Chaney and their policies, never once have I seen anyone carry guns openly or categorize a President with a Hitler mustache. Where was all of this rage when Bush/Chaney declared war without the approval of Congress? Somehow we have lost our moral values as Americans and I am ashamed that nations look at us as embiciles.

    August 19, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. I can see Canada from my house!

    Its about time somebody called these loons out for what they are. The whole point of having freedom of speech is also TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT YOU SAY AND ITS RAMIFICATIONS! It does not give you the right to engage in slander and libel. Frank is right about these people: they are afraid to have a rational discussion.

    August 19, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. tcaudilllg

    Bam, lay it to the radicals, Barney!

    August 19, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. Jackie

    Thank you Rep. Frank from someone who has good insurance AND supports a public option. There's no way to bring about fair health insurance costs without it. It's good to see someone stand up to the bullies who aren't really interested in what you have to say as much as just being disruptive. Behavior like that is part of the reason we're where we are right now – they're great voices for health insurance companies, I'm so glad many of us aren't buying the spin.

    August 19, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. AUSTIN,TX

    good for you Barney...I'm glad you have the guts to stand up to these idiots at the town hall thats being disruptive

    August 19, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. Carrie in CO

    This type of response to these ignorant people is long overdue. These people behave as though their upbringing was completely void of manners, education and basic respect.

    I'd suggest they are an extremist minority who the rest of us have little interest indulging and in no way represent the thinking going on in most of America.

    August 19, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Terri in OK

    Way to go Mr. Frank. It's about time someone stood up to these nut jobs and called them out on their crazy claims.

    August 19, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. Robert

    Good for Barney!!! Stand up to the nutjobs who choose to pretend they believe the lies set out by the lobbyists and Republican party.

    Face them down and don't back off. This is one Congressman who is showing the rest how it ought to be done. Respectfully hold your ground, and point out the childishness of the screamers.

    Am glad he also indicated he has no time to try and reason with anyone stupid enough to compare Obama to Hitler or the effort to extend healthcare to the uninsured to Naziism.

    That is such an insult to anyone who suffered under that regime. Nobody holding those signs or making that comparison is worth trying to reason with.

    August 19, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Steve

    This entire gov't is such a joke. Regardless of party, everything is about politics and re-election and never about whats best for this country. There are other means of Health Reform beyond whats been proposed but they ALL refuse to look at it. I hate all of them!

    August 19, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. THE MEDIA IS THE MASTER

    Eveyone (media) want's to know why we, who are FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM, are not out there with our signs and guns and all that BS.

    FORTUNATELY, WE ARE MORE CIVILIZED then those who oppose.

    WE HAVE JOBS, so VERY FEW of us have the TIME TO SCREW OFF like the folks who have NOTHING BETTER TO DO.

    WE FEEL IT'S MORE IMPORTANT TO BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION INSTEAD OF BEING THE PROBLEM.

    More power to Mr. Frank. SOMEONE has to TELL THE PEOPLE they look like FOOLS!!

    August 19, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. alvino

    Frank did pretty well dealing with the wing nuts. I especially liked his response to the 'Obama is Hitler lady.'

    August 19, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. hope over fear

    Bring some grade-schoolers into these debates; they would present themselves with more maturity than most of these lunatics.

    August 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. ChristianK

    I would have so much more freedom and confidence to pursue my own business endeavors if I did not live in fear of losing my employer sponsored health insurance that covers my family.

    How many other Americans are held back by this and live in fear? Millions and millions.

    August 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  19. watching

    Holding up a picture depicting Obama as Hitler to a Jewish congressman and shouting as much........I would say Berney was restrained in his response.

    August 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  20. rev

    Bravo, Mr. Frank! It's about time a politician stood up and called a conservative loon a conservative loon. These delusional people are only as informed as FoxNoise, Rush, Sean, Beck or Bill-O the Clown tell them to be. Let's get the health care public option made into law and keep fixing the epic failures of the Republican party!

    August 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. kim

    Thats why I like Barney Frank. He never holds back when telling people whats on his mind. No matter the situation

    August 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. GJ Bailey

    Opponents of health care reform don't want a discussion to happen. They can't win on votes or on logic. They just want to drown out any discussion that might take place. They hurt their cause and they hurt America!

    August 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. Allison

    It's amazing how some people are believing the GOP and their promotion of lies and falsehoods. It's like leading lambs to slaughter. Wake up America, we need reform NOW!

    August 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Ren from Baltimore

    These Republicans at Rep Barney's town hall would be entertaining if this weren't such a matter of our-future-depends-on-it. Health Care Reform is something overdue, all sides know it.

    How carrying loaded firearms, calls of Naziism, shouting over questions _and_ answers make up the do-nothing GOP's response to reform? This is not the issue to pick on in their effort to bring down President Obama, change, or the inclusion of Blacks, Latinos, or those Americans making under $250,000 per year.

    August 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. Old White Virginia Female

    Finally I saw a Representative with the body parts required to stand up to the disrespect and ignorant insistence on perpetuating inaccurate information that has been spewing out of newsrooms for the entire month of August. When he responded to the woman that talking to her was like talking to the dining room table and he did not care to do so, I literally stood up and applauded. Bullies are always the minority. They are loud, obnoxious and no one else really likes them. And God knows you do not handle one by standing there passively with your arms crossed wishing he/she would go away. Rep. Frank made me proud to be a Democrat and to see that someone in U.S. Congress had a spine!

    August 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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