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. montag

    Good for Barney Frank. It's about time someone spoke the truth to these right-wing nutcases.

    August 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Bold

    I wish all the democrats were not so darn weak and would confront the no-sayers. Good for you Franks.

    August 19, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. George

    You WACKO's keep watching FOX NEWS and your demented minds will get worse than they are now.

    August 19, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. Lynne

    Great job, Barney. Call out the people who have NO idea about what they are saying and NO interest in seeking answers. It would be interesting to learn if this young woman has any idea of the history and ideology of the Nazis and what they stood for.

    August 19, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. Chris

    NOW!!! this is how you hold a Town Hall meeting!! I have to say all the Democrats in Congress could learn a thing or two from Frank!!!
    When the silly folks start to shout stupid stuff and start trying to be disruptive make them look like the stupid idiots they are!!!

    I bet Fox or any of the other Conservative right media outlet showed or talked about this Town Hall.

    Two thumbs up for Frank!!! LOL

    August 19, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Ray, Florida

    Good for you Rep. Barney Frank. We need some of the other Democrats to speak out as you have. Stand your ground. Now go and vote the health plan in the president is proposing.

    August 19, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. jeff

    Go Mr. Frank,

    Don't let them intimidate you. Healthcare reform is like Nazi Germany? How is giving healthcare to All Americans like Nazi Germany? If anything, private insurance companies can be more closely compared to Nazi Germany. They often deny coverage to many Americans, causing them to DIE. That sounds a lot more like Nazi Germany than giving healthcare TO ALL AMERICANS.

    August 19, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    Yeah! Barney, get in their face! Expose the lies! How can you can compare health care to Nazi's after 8 years of shredding personal freedoms by the previous administration they are upset about trying to make sure everyone has decent health care. Amazing! What planet do these people live on?!

    August 19, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. Jackson

    comparing anything in this debate to nazi germany is plain and simple wrong.

    August 19, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Lynn

    These wingnuts are soooo crazy with their talk of Nazis and Germany, but let them yell and scream the insults. I would scream too if I had that much hate inside of me.

    While they are thrashing around, carrying guns and doing everything they can to demean and insult any and everyone who does not agree with them we will push through a health care bill that even benefits them!

    PUBLIC OPTION NOW!!

    August 19, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. A. Goodwin

    I dont care what you have to say about Barney Frank. He might say things a bit off the cuff...but he's right. He needed to be strong, and he did. He was not going to allow THUGS to interrupt a good discussion. Loved his retort to the woman about her comparison of Obama to Hitler...loved it.

    August 19, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. The black Spider

    VERY GOOD JOB Barney Frank. Somebody need to take the lead and ashamed this ridiculous ignorant haters watching fox news day and night in their villages.
    You see how ashamed she was when she got the answer? Yes all of them deserve this.
    This people want publicity so fight fire with fire and give them shame.
    Again good job barney frank

    August 19, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Chris Stone

    Barney Frank can only be summed up as a fat, over bearing punk. As with all punks they need to be knocked down a notch or two. He needs to step down and let a real American take his position. A real American that can do the job and not be abusive to the public. The democratic party party has proven that they are Anti-American thugs. They are communist wrapped in a big pretty bow for the majority. The majority these days is not the sick or the infirm, but the lazy, the worthless and the illegal. Get a job Barney!

    August 19, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Republicans are the American Taliban

    MY My...... the Nazi reference mirrors the Glen Beck Show and Sean Hannity and the rest of the Republican fearmongers....

    August 19, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    It is time to go through the ignorant with reform and act like they are not even there. The only thing they contribute to this debate is loud mouth babble and nonsense propaganda fed to them by their handlers.

    August 19, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Post always rejected by CNN

    I think the republican hired thugs and those they egg on are getting out of hand. They should have a sign saying, you can ASK any opposing questions you choose. And you can expect an ANSWER. But if you start to be disruptive you will be escorted out of the meetings.

    After all the people who come to ask legitimate questions have a right to be heard, that's what the meetings are for. And if the republicans, which we see is their only reason for showing up, is to be disruptive they dont' deserve to be in the meeting at all.

    I can remember when bush and cheney had their meetings to EXPLAIN something to the public only INVITED GUESTS were allowed in. Democrats are doing the proper thing by allowing opposing options. At least the thugs are manhandled, handcuffed and carted off to jail like at bush and cheney meetings.

    KICK THEIR BUTTS OUT AND KEEP ME OUT. REAL PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW.

    August 19, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. Chipster

    Frank is correct. When people fabricate nonsense that has been completely debunked and compare a health plan to Nazi death camps, socialism and communism; they lose any credibility and simply look like a bunch of fanatical fools. (One woman yelled to keep the governments hand off of her Medicare! – Oh, Good grief. Get a clue, people)

    Apparently some of them are so hate-filled that they have gone to the extreme of fabricating a phony Kenyan birth certificate. If they must stoop to lies, creating phony documents, defacing photos like a bunch of children, how can they possibly expect to be taken seriously?

    I do take their fanaticism seriously and truly believe that they could be quite dangerous.

    August 19, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  18. bullfrog

    Finally, a Democrat that stands up to this nonsense. It is time to take the gloves off.

    August 19, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. Al-NY,NY

    the lemmings are following Fat-boys orders to a tee. Disrupt, shout, and prevent real discussion

    August 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Gary

    While I don't agree with all that Mr. frank does, I coomend the man for standing his ground and following through! Go Barney!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. RealityKing

    Barney Frank wasn't there to listen, he was there to arrogantly explain what he thinks is best. Barney Frank is the epitome of what's wrong with America's polticians.

    August 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  22. Bob in Pa

    The woman is right, the Nazi party was a Socialist party. What else do you call it when the Government attempts to control everything ?
    Poor Barney.

    August 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. moosehead

    Kudos to Barney for standing his ground, and putting these hired anarchist mercenaries in their place.

    August 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. vic nashville , Tn

    If you don’t enter no spin zone or Hannity’s America you are a Nazi !!!!!!!!! that is definition from fox and friends

    Please wake up America do the right thing support Our president

    August 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. Nancy

    Where are the republican town hall meetings? I want to hear from them, as well. This is not a democrat or republican issue, it is an American issue. All the angry people we see on television certainly does not represent the people of our country. That is a very small percentage of the millions of citizens. We need healthcare/insurance reform now, before this issue takes us all down. PUBLIC OPTION is the only way forward.

    August 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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