March 15th, 2010
12:38 PM ET
4 years ago

Conservative rallying cries spur phone call frenzy

New York Rep. Dan Maffei’s office has been inundated with phone calls from people opposed to Democratic health care reform calling from outside of his congressional district.
New York Rep. Dan Maffei’s office has been inundated with phone calls from people opposed to Democratic health care reform calling from outside of his congressional district.

Washington (CNN) - As a vote on health care reform nears, Republican and conservative groups are attempting to defeat the bill by pressuring undecided and vulnerable Democrats to vote against the legislation.

Bob Adams, the executive director of the League of American Voters, tells CNN that his organization will place a $547,000 television ad buy on Monday which will target 21 legislators. The group has spent $330,000 running ads since February 27.

The group has listed on their Web site the name and phone number of every Democrat who voted against the House's health care bill in November, as well as those of the 21 Democrats who voted "yea" in November but may change their vote.

As the phone lines jam, the offices of some of those Democrats are expressing frustration that their constituents may be unable to reach out.

New York Rep. Dan Maffei's press secretary Abby Gardner told CNN that her office was averaging about 500 phone calls per day last week, but that only 20 or so were from constituents in Maffei's district.

"The calls from the district are very mixed pro/for [and] against health care legislation," Gardner said. "The calls from outside of the district are exclusively against health care."

"Unfortunately the call volume makes it difficult for people to get through, and while I think the groups who really generate these calls consider jamming our phone lines a sign of strength and success, it really doesn't do anything to persuade the Rep.'s opinion on how to vote," Gardner said.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is running television ads and placing phone calls targeting constituents of those Democrats. An NRCC spokesperson said the group has dedicated tens of thousands of dollars to the effort.

Meanwhile, the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank, and the Salem Radio Network, a Christian radio network, announced Monday that they have launched the "One Million Patriots" campaign which they say is "expected to generate a million e-mails from constituents to their congressional members, opposing ObamaCare."

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. FM

    Everything which is done excessively and not moderately, end up to be a disaster. I am afraid their intentions of calling, will not yield the results they anticipated!

    March 15, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Donna from Colorado Springs

    For the life of me, I have yet to figure out why Republicans and conservatives are so dead set against healthcare reform. Do they not want the American people to have affordable healthcare? This attitude just re-enforces my belief that they do not care about anybody who is not of their political party or does not believe that conservatism is the only thought process we should have! They moan and complain that liberal Democrats are forcing our beliefs and ideas on the rest of the country, yet, just what do they think they're doing?????????? I guess it's okay for them to force their way of life on the rest of us and we're not supposed to fight back at them or dare to disagree! Someone really needs to tell them that it is not THEIR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!

    March 15, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Denna

    Bless the Republicans. They'll keep us from getting health care and people will continue to die because of a lack of health care. But hey, as long as they beat President Obama, what the heck are a few deaths? Are these people and their constituents retarded or something? What about the majority of Americans who want this bill? Yes, I said majority. Once again, if this bill fails, it won't be President Obama's fault; it will be the fault of the idiots we elected to assist him. I don't mean the Republicans, whose constituents are apparently all on tea-laced drugs, I mean the Democrats we gave the majority to so that things would get done!

    March 15, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. MnMary

    So the Republicans/conservatives are trying to "stack the deck" by effectively jamming the phone lines so pro-healthcare constituents can't get through to their legislators... Democrats, if / when you get one of these phone calls, place your phone on the table and walk away, thus tying up their phone lines!

    March 15, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. rob

    "The calls from the district are very mixed pro/for [and] against health care legislation," Gardner said. "The calls from outside of the district are exclusively against health care."

    Why don't you report the percentages of "Very Mixed" of pro and against from the members district. Those #'s would be interesting. My bet is that if it were running more Pro health care than we would have heard the percentages. Like other liberal media outlets CNN does not give the full story. The jist of the story is, there are so many calls their own people can't get through and that the the hundreds of calls they are getting from outside don't sway the Congressman. Yeah right.

    March 15, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Allen in Hartwell GA

    What the Congress men and women need to do is have toll 900 numbers that charge $50 dollars to call them, unless the staffers opt to not charge for calls from the district/state represented by the particular Representative or Senator. That would slow down the out of state/district callers.

    March 15, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    $547,000 TV ads being posted by the tea party and these people wouldn't even pay travel fair for the majority of their members to attend their $500 a plate dinner; but then it's okay for them to stand in the rain, snow and cold holding signs to support them.

    March 15, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. rita

    And who says our government does not run on the highest bidder with the most money for the most access. These 6 figure dollar amounts drowned out my pitiful letters to my congressmen and women. The little guy will never be heard again in the halls of Congress. I can't compete with $547,000 or $330,000. Government for the people (with the most amount of money), and by the people (who garnered millions to conduct a campaign). Note to the electorate: Stop writing letters to Congress. They get dumped in file B while money does all of the talking.

    March 15, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Avg Guy in Red State Kansas

    Jeez... Yet ANOTHER "Party of NO". These folks make the GOP look positively brilliant. (But, everything is relative, right?)

    Most Tea Party members I've encountered are rude, loud imbeciles whose only contribution to any dialogue on health care is to thunder on endlessly about their opposition to this "socialist" plan. They are crass little people who help the rest of us understand why some species eat their young.

    These morons wouldn't know socialism if it walked up and bit them on their collective butts. Anybody can trash any program. It takes intelligence and thought to offer solutions.

    But, as is often said, simple minds rarely grasp complex problems, and the Tea Parties are full of simpletons.

    March 15, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Ron

    IF there is a democrat in DC dumb enough to believe a republican will vote for him/her this Nov, the idiot needs to lose his/her job! Republicans are not going to vote for dems in Nov ...unless this reform works. But, dems are wasting time to see the effects by delaying the vote. GET-R-DONE!!!!

    March 15, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. NYCitizen

    Nobody but nobody should have to pay a fine for not having health insurance, for whatever reason they do not have health insurance. Nobody but nobody should have to pay out more in insurance premium costs than they already do – and it seems, as usual, single people earning $55,000 + get hid hard. Nobody but nobody should be penalized for being able to afford a "cadillac" insurance plan. I am 51 years old, worked hard all my life to be able to buy an insurance policy that doesn't require authorizations from primary MD to go see anbody else, and I should not have to be taxed extra for finally reaching that goal in my life, nor should anybody else. The worst of it, none of this really would take effect until, at minimum 2013/2014!

    March 15, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. FRANK, LAS VEGAS

    The Tea Baggers are using the same shameful tactics now that they used at the town hall meetings, shouting people down who want to have an honest debate. Now they jam the phone lines so the people who actually live in the district can't get through. There's only one word for these Right Wing Nuts and their LIES, idiots. They deprive the American people of their voice. The Tea baggers are uninformed and misinformed by the paid insurance company organizers. They claim to be grassroots but they are having their strings pulled and don't even realize it. That's why you hear them say things "keep your government hands off my Medicare". They're not even smart enough to understand that Medicare is government run health care. IDIOTS.

    March 15, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. Stacie

    Call your own congressperson. Let the people of his district talk to him...shesh!

    March 15, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. get real

    My guess is the people jamming the phones of representatives in other districts have too much time on their hands. Maybe they're unemployed...wait, but they'd benefit from health insurance reform. Never doubt the low to middle income conservatives' ability to vote against their own best interests.

    March 15, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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