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. Amy Kathleen

    My favorite bit is when they shout at him "read the bill", and oh, he picks it up, and reads the section that explains clearly that they are wrong, and they completely disregard it. Because those are just facts, you can't trust facts.

    August 19, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  2. scott

    Thank you Barney Frank!!!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. just.thomas

    Excllent Barney... The problem is in all Town Halls that these congressment believe in 1st and 2nd ammendment , so all of them kept quiet against the unreasonable reasonings and angries of crowd. We need Tit for Tat policies against the fear mongering Politics of GOP. Here GOP is winning their tactics against healthcare reform..

    August 19, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. stone cold

    I like this guy, he is a honest and frank politicial. I can't believe that people are act uneducated like this in town hall meeting, what is the difference between American politics and African politics ?

    August 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. paula

    I love it! Had people come to town halls during the Bush era, they would have been screened for opposing views. Had any opponents gotten through and voiced their concerns in the way these shameful idiots are presently doing, they would have been ushered out. Frank stood his ground. And he's right, debating with people who compare Obama to a Nazi is indeed like talking to a piece of furniture, same exact intelligence.

    August 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. Patrick

    Republicans have gone insane if this is the style of protest they wish to support. Yelling at town hall meetings, believing that Obama was not an American-born citizen, and believing every word that the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have thrown out the voice of reason and installed a voice (a yelling voice, no doubt) of stupidity and conformity. They have thrown out their individual opinions for those of their leaders. They have listened to the likes of Hannity and taken his opinion on the health reform bill. You know he doesn't like it as his paychecks will have a little less because of a minor tax increase but a health reform is necessary. Republicans are becoming vile, ignorant, and downright idiotic for spewing things related to Nazis and Hitler.

    August 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. David

    Great Job Rep Barney Frank!!

    Sadly the Healthcare Town Hall Meetings have become a target for right wing undereducated extremists to express their hate speech.

    August 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  8. KG, Twin Cities

    Good for Rep Frank in confronting the people who are not thinking logically.

    August 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  9. CF

    My new hero. About time someone gets tough with these brainwashed, hateful people and tells it like it is.

    August 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Barney Frank found out that you can't fight the stupidity of people in the Republican party! They get an idea planted in their brains by right-wing nut jobs like Limbaugh and Beck, and it's useless to try to reason with them. I never thought people in this country could be swayed by out and out lies, but I was wrong. They will believe any lie you tell them....especially when the man they voted for last year DIDN'T WIN THE ELECTION!

    August 19, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. PaulC

    Way to go Barney.
    If it is a game of who shouts the loudest then shout louder.

    August 19, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. SC

    Finally a Gov. Official that is going toe to toe with these stupid igonarant people

    August 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. Patrick

    Additionally, any civilized nation is going to be a mix of capitalism and socialism. Without socialism in the US, Social Security, public education, and Medicare would be just three of the many government run programs that would disappear. It is developing a balance, where we must decide the line to be drawn that decides how much socialism is allowed in the country. As for health care, let the government run it. They will be more apt to cut some of the costs and be able to lower the amount of money people spend on health care.

    August 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. MLH

    Barney Frank went to that meeting armed with knowledge and courtesy. Whether the anger was genuine or faux, whether it is grassroots or astroturf, the problem is that the people against health care reform are so out of control and pig ignorant as to what is contained in the bill, that they are becoming a caricature. Yelling about Nazi Germany, Russia and Socialists does not help their cause.

    August 19, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Patrick

    Any civilized nation is going to be a mix of capitalism and socialism. Without socialism in the US, Social Security, public education, and Medicare would be just three of the many government run programs that would disappear. It is developing a balance, where we must decide the line to be drawn that decides how much socialism is allowed in the country. As for health care, let the government run it. They will be more apt to cut some of the costs and be able to lower the amount of money people spend on health care.

    August 19, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Jillie

    That woman with the Nazi Germany remark acted like she had the IQ of a guppy.

    August 19, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. Welcome to The BoBo Show

    There is the pride of the Democrats.....that guy should be in jail for causing our economic problems. he though every American should own a home now he thinks they should all have health insurance. Next up Plazma TV's

    August 19, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. Darko

    They're pissed because when you do 'answer' a question, it's nothing but typical rhetoric. You state things that are directly in conflict with the actual wording in the bill.

    Get it through you thick head, the majority of WORKING Americans DO NOT WANT a public plan. They know it will kill of private insurance. You can't compete with someone who makes the rules and can print their own money.

    Reform Medicade/Medicare first. Reform unethical insurance practices. We have the BEST health treatment in the world...we can't afford to lose that just for the sake of reform.

    August 19, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. Anonymous

    I can't believe Barney Frank is the toughest democrat in the congress – about time some one grew a pair!

    The thing I can't understand the most is how the party with almost no minority representation or inclusion would start calling the other party with all the minorities "racist" or "nazi"

    How stupid are these people?

    August 19, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. truthsayer

    Good for Barney. Call these whackos out.

    August 19, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. mag

    Way to go Barney! Having a discussion with RepTugs is like arguing with a dinning room table – it's just a waste of time!

    August 19, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. Forget about them

    Just do it without them. If they don't want reform they can keep what they have. I'm sick of the undercover and not so undercover racists preventing what we have needed for so long. Stop trying to convince them. They don't care to listen or learn. They're stuck on stupid. Let's move on.

    August 19, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Billy J Texas

    Lord, I wish we had a few more southwest versions of this guy in Texas. Most politicians spend so much time trying to avoid answering a direct question, it would be a relief to see a middle class advocate with a quick comeback and the cahones to say it loud when they needed to. I will take any stripe of political party member as long as they are telling me the truth, and have the majority of their constituents best interests at heart. They tried to Gerrymander Lloydd Dogget out of the house, here in Texas by making a ribbon from Austin to Brownsville. It didn't work. Just because you get the most face time or have the most corporate (or any other special interest for that matter) backing, doesn't mean the people won't rise to the occasion, if you just make sure you keep them involved.

    August 19, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Erik

    Finally, someone who deals with this nonsense the way it should be dealt with.

    August 19, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. JC

    I really love how us liberals are starting to sharpenning our fangs. No more mr. nice guy when it comes to something this important. We have had enough. When the other side push us too far, we will fight back.

    August 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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