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. inuk of the north

    The protesters shoulda been at his front door when he was runnng Fannie Mae – might've saved the entire world economy.

    August 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. JB - NYC

    This er, man is an embarrassment to society.

    August 19, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. S R Bricco

    got to love the role politics play on people. The DEM said that the GOP are stacking the town halls with their people. The DEMs then ask the unions to come on board and then the GOP whine. The crowds then start to bring in their 2nd amendment guns to the towwn halls and use terms such as nazi, and hitler. Who is the bigger baby now. In this independants eyes I see nothing but the GOP trying to prevent change. It doesn't make a differance if its health coverage, global warming, or taxes cuts for the middle. The GOP lost their power and now will sit on their hands until the next election and say it was all the DEM's fault. And this is working, the polls have shown that. What has this country come to. The majority voted out that past to get a brighter future and now we are letting thugs disrupt our future. People think of what you say before you say it. We need change, or would you like to go back to higher taxes, more waste, less jobs ( the GOP allowed them to go over seas). Is this what you want ? Act now and demand a change.

    August 19, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  4. Liberals liars

    Frank is a liar, Frank is partially responsible for the mortgage meltdown because he refused to stop risky mortgages. Frank is corrupt. Frank is unethical for overseeing his boyfriend when the guy was a government employee.

    August 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  5. Melissa

    Its obvious they just want to yell. Its time to start throwing these people out because all they're doing is being disruptive. Discussing it all is one thing. Being children is another. This kind of behavior isn't acceptable anywhere else, there's no reason it should be acceptable at a town hall meeting.

    August 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  6. Debby

    As a New Englander Barney Frank is the biggest buffoon we have. They shut off the mike so we can't hear the woman's views and this is called democrocy. Alot of people are just plain scared of government run health care and think they won't have free choice to choose their own. What don't the Dumbocrats get about this. Obama can talk to the cows come home about choice, but whats to say when this universal health care plan comes in he and his band of dummies change the policy yet again.

    August 19, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  7. Lori in St Pete

    "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.

    "Trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table," Frank said to the woman. "I have no interest in doing it."

    Oh snap! Good for him for saying what needed to be said! Memo to the mealy-mouth blue dogs: When dealing with children and the mentally ill, you have to get down on their level. That's how you keep the upper hand in all situations. Take a page from Barney Frank's playbook. You'll be glad you did in 2010/12.

    August 19, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. sharon

    Get um' Barney. The people that arrived their to disrupt never wanted to listen. That is not their goal. They only due what their GOP tell them to do. They are just the front push. The back push= GOP in congress......now those you have to watch out for.
    The loud,outrageous people ..........do not spend time on them.

    The Whitehouse is correct .................Dems............get it done.

    August 19, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. VA Republican

    Good for you Barney!
    Can't understand why these folks continue to argue points that have already been discounted. The information is out there People!!!
    Like the good book says, "Seek and Ye shall find."
    Either ignorance is bliss or something more sinister is in the works.
    Obama, we elected you to LEAD, for goodness sakes, do it already!!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. Melissa

    Go Barney Frank, go Barney Frank. Its about time someone told the trouble making screamers off.

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. Carmen, Miami FL

    I guess you have to fight crazy stupid with utter scorn and derision. Works for me! Make these people ashamed of their stupidity and ignorance. Go Barney!

    August 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. Chris

    THIS. IS. AWESOME.

    Not the morons trying to disrupt for the sake of disrupting, but Rep. Frank laying the smack down. And "Disruption never helps your cause; It just looks like you're afraid to have rational discussion" is going on my living room wall. This is a truth everybody should learn in grade school.

    August 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. JP

    Barney Frank is a boob. When will he be held accountable for the Freddie and Fannie Mae messes he help created?

    August 19, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Grundoon

    Let the rest of the congressional democrats take a lesson from Barney. You cannot reason with irrational people who allow FAUX news to IV feed them misinformation. Elvis H. Presley!! What fools!!

    August 19, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. Joe in CT - not Lieberman!!!

    Give 'em H E Double-Hockey-Sticks, Barney!
    Thank God we have at least one politician willing to stand up to these semi-disorganized thugs who won't allow these Congressmen to reply to questions about the issues. Now all we need is for someone to confront these mooks who point out the "death panels" and other scare tactics and ask them where in the bill the read it? Or do they get all their info from Rush, Sarah, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity?

    August 19, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. LARRY

    The GOP sent their pack of hungry wolves to the town hall to promote fear and hatred. They looked like a bunch of juvenile, playground bullies ready to beat somebody up. Morons.

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. Don M.

    Thank you Barney Frank!

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Jason

    Attaboy, Barney. Don't flinch, just call em' what they are.
    Rabble Rousers who don't want answers, just an opportunity to be a butthole in public.
    Patriotic Americans?
    Not if you are willingly ignorant, and take no opportunity to get educated about issues.

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. POEMAN

    You go Barney! It's about time someone stood up to these folks. First Amendment rights are great until you abuse them by screaming over everyone else. When everyone is yelling noone can get the answers to thier questions. Of course this is what the Dick Armey's of the world want. Treat everyone like mushroom (keep them in the dark and feed them dung).

    Hey old people that oppose helth care reform while receiving Medicare, Do you realize that one of the MAJOR organizations scripting your uprising opposes Medicare also! Wake up and turn on your hearing aids!

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. RAG

    GO BARNEY! The cultist Brown Shirts need confronted and exposed. The more rational people can confront their inanity and lies with reason and facts the sooner they will crawl back under the rocks they came from. Their Republican controlers should be ashamed, but of course they haven't the capacity.

    August 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  21. gt

    never understood mass. voters ,, frank is so unpleaseant and rude all the time..how does he get elected ?

    August 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. Darci

    And the Republicans keep stirring the pot...stirring the pot...stirring the pot.

    August 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. Peoples Voice

    Sic em, Barney. We need more Dems with the courage you showed. Let them know how stupid they sound.

    August 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Anna

    Be afraid everybody, be very afraid. What a mess the Republican Party has become.

    August 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Chris - Denver

    Yeah, I can't picture Barney Frank being non-combative.

    August 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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