March 20th, 2010
08:19 PM ET
4 years ago

Protesters hurl slurs and spit at Democrats

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Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis was the target of racial slurs on Saturday.
Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis was the target of racial slurs on Saturday.

Washington (CNN) - Civil rights icon and veteran Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, said anti-health care bill protesters Saturday repeatedly yelled the "N" word at him as he left a heath care meeting and walked to the Capitol.

"I haven't seen heard anything like this in more than 40 years, maybe 45." Lewis said. "Since the march from Selma to Montgomery really."

"Yeah, but it's okay," Lewis added. "I've faced this before. So, it reminded me of the 60's. There's a lot of downright hate and anger and people are just being downright mean."

The incident was confirmed by Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indiana, who was walking with Lewis at the time. Protesters were yelling, "'kill the bill, kill the bill' and the 'N' word several times," Carson said.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, released a statement late Saturday saying he too was called the "N" word as he walked to the Capitol for a vote and that he was spat on by one protestor who was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police. Cleaver declined to press charges against the man, the statement said.

Protesters also hurled anti-gay comments at Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, who is openly gay, as he left the same health care meeting that Lewis attended in a House office building.

A CNN producer overheard the word "faggot" yelled at Frank several times in the lobby of the Longworth building. Frank said he heard someone yell "homo" at him.

"I'm disappointed," Frank said. "There's an unwillingness to be civil."

Frank, who said he rarely hears such slurs anymore, said the health care issue has become "the proxy for a lot of other sentiments. A lot of which are perfectly reasonable but some of which are kind of ugly."


Filed under: Barney Frank • Health care • John Lewis • Popular Posts
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Texas Jack

    We must limit politicions to two terms;
    One in office and one in jail Unk.
    FA
    If you forward this correspondence, PLEASE delete the forwarding history which includes my email address. It is a courtesy to me and others who may not wish to have their email addresses sent all over the world. Deleting the history helps prevent Spammers from mining addresses and also prevents viruses from being propagated. Thank you.
    Some people got a Raise, I DID Not ...
    I will send this out every month until election time, just as a reminder. If everyone remembers, we can make a difference.
    GRRRRRRRRRR....! I'm MAD AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO!
    Your U.S. House & Senate have voted themselves $4,700
    and $5,300 raises.
    1. They voted to not give you a S.S. cost of living raise in
    2010 and 2011.
    2. Your Medicare premiums will go up $285.60 for the 2-years and you will not get the 3% COLA: $660/yr. Your total 2-yr loss and cost is -$1,600 or -$3,200 for husband and wife.
    3. Over 2-yrs The House & Senate each get $10,000 raises
    4. Do you feel SCREWED?
    5. WILL your cost of drugs – doctor fees – local taxes – food, etc., increase? You better believe they will!
    WILL THEIRS...NO WAY
    . They have a raise and better benefits. Why care about you? You never did anything about it in the past.
    You're obviously too stupid or don't care. No offense; just making a point!
    6. Do you really think that Nancy, Harry, Chris, Charlie, Barnie, et al, care about you?
    SEND THE MESSAGE - You're FIRED.!!!
    IN 2010 YOU WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO GET RID OF THE SITTING CONGRESS AND Up to 1/3 OF THE SENATE, AND 100% OF THE HOUSE.
    MAKE SURE YOU'RE STILL MAD IN NOVEMBER 2010 AND TELL THEIR REPLACEMENTS NOT TO SCREW UP.
    It is ok to forward this to your sphere of influence if you are finally tired of the abuse.
    Maybe it's time for the........
    Amendment 28
    "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United
    States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives,
    and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or
    Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the
    United States ."
    Let's get this passed around, folks – these people in Washington have brought this upon themselves!!! It's time for retribution. Let's take back America.

    March 21, 2010 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  2. Rb from NH

    How sad.

    This is the response that Republicans give to providing access to health care?

    Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you.

    March 21, 2010 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  3. tracy

    I am all for differing ideas, however seems like there's an ugly under-current in which some tea partiers seem too willing to wade.

    March 21, 2010 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  4. Susan, AZ

    Great job Teabaggers.
    Keep the racism up and lets bring back the history. After all, u guys like what happened during founding fathers' time.

    March 21, 2010 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  5. Sunder

    Mob is always unruly but I think this time it exceeded limits. If not everyone in there, most of them seem to have no clue why they are there. Seems like most of them are there as a African American is there in the white house.

    It is shame that we had to see this day.

    March 21, 2010 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  6. Onn

    Are people supposed to be surprised? Obama has turned the government into public enemy number 1. People are mad, they don't want this bill!

    March 21, 2010 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  7. Cncrndcitzen

    It is a sad day in the United States of America when people have to resort to racial name calling and insults to get their point across.

    March 21, 2010 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  8. Carrie

    That's the prez.....he sure knows how to bring people together...NOT, he's splitting the country...what a jerk! Not the person he presented himself as when he was campaigning. A lot of us were duped!

    March 21, 2010 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  9. mstlg

    Peop;e's true colors are being revealed., and it has nothing to do with the healthcare issue. They still haven't been able to accept the fact that this country has an African/American president and would rather see the country fail those who have no access to health insurance and suffer than to see him accomplish something that benefits all of us. The ignorance of prejudice and hate never fails to amaze me!

    March 21, 2010 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  10. Scott Alexander

    Unfortunately, those evil enough to not care about other people's health and not intelligent enough for understanding the truth that this plan SAVES more money than it spends are the same type of people decades earlier who were against civil rights. The protestors are against anything positive happening in this country. If it helps this country get better – they're against it. Either because they're evil or ignorant. There's no evidence to the contrary. You don't see nice, decent people saying they could care less about little kids getting health care...its always the bad ones who are against that.

    March 21, 2010 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  11. Texas Jack

    We must limit politicions to two terms;
    Some people got a Raise, I DID Not ...
    I will send this out every month until election time, just as a reminder. If everyone remembers, we can make a difference.
    GRRRRRRRRRR....! I'm MAD AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO!
    Your U.S. House & Senate have voted themselves $4,700
    and $5,300 raises.
    1. They voted to not give you a S.S. cost of living raise in
    2010 and 2011.
    2. Your Medicare premiums will go up $285.60 for the 2-years and you will not get the 3% COLA: $660/yr. Your total 2-yr loss and cost is -$1,600 or -$3,200 for husband and wife
    3. Over 2-yrs The House & Senate each get $10,000 raises
    4. Do you feel SCREWED?
    5. WILL your cost of drugs – doctor fees – local taxes – food, etc., increase? You better believe they will!
    WILL THEIRS...NO WAY
    . They have a raise and better benefits. Why care about you? You never did anything about it in the past.
    You're obviously too stupid or don't care. No offense; just making a point!
    6. Do you really think that Nancy, Harry, Chris, Charlie, Barnie, et al, care about you?
    SEND THE MESSAGE - You're FIRED.!!!
    IN 2010 YOU WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO GET RID OF THE SITTING CONGRESS AND Up to 1/3 OF THE SENATE, AND 100% OF THE HOUSE.
    MAKE SURE YOU'RE STILL MAD IN NOVEMBER 2010 AND TELL THEIR REPLACEMENTS NOT TO SCREW UP.
    It is ok to forward this to your sphere of influence if you are finally tired of the abuse.
    Maybe it's time for the........

    Amendment 28

    "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United
    States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives,
    and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or
    Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the
    United States ."

    Let's get this passed around, folks – these people in Washington have brought this upon themselves!!! It's time for retribution. Let's take back America.

    March 21, 2010 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  12. alex

    This is both sad and disturbing and it speaks volumes of an underlying racial prejudice. I think if it was a white, republican president pushing a health care reform bill and democrats were opposing it you'd see the same angry, divisive rhetoric coming from the right. The RNC is no longer the party of Lincoln, it's the party of trying to maintain a vile status quo that should have been dead and buried a century ago. Frankly it sickens me. These racist, obstructionists should crawl back under whatever rock they crawled out from under. This is America, not Nazi Germany.

    March 21, 2010 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  13. M. Townsend

    Anyone who is surprised by this is very delusional. Many in the tea bag crowd are swayed to their current state of fear and anger because of a predisposition that derives from prior latent racial animosities. Good this is they are probably in the minority. And everyone else – for or against the legislation – should rebuke their actions in absolute terms and without any qualifications.

    March 21, 2010 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  14. Orygun2012

    They scream the loudest, who are the most intolerant. They are also the easiest to ignore, because they lack of an intelligent argument. I am grateful, that at least half this country, sees the common sense of this bill.

    March 21, 2010 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  15. Obama 2012

    That is the main reason for all of the controversy...people just can't trust the President to do his job because of "you know what."

    March 21, 2010 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  16. TheTruthForOnce, NOT BS

    If we don't stop yelling at each other, we are never going to get anywhere. I'm tired of either it is the republicans way or get out of town. I've been a life long republican until this last election and I'm so sick and tired of their petty politics that I can't support them anymore!

    March 21, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  17. utahsang

    Sounds like something liberals would do hiding among conservatives and shouting racial slurs look at all the name calling when liberals post comments on any C.N.N. article they can not put a sentence with out name calling . They seem to think they are making a point by calling people names or belittling them they are not it just shows the weakness of there position. Barney Frank talking about civility you have got to be kidding me when has he ever been civil I don't think he really knows what the word means.

    March 21, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  18. dave

    The Party of No has created the arena for most vicious hatred I can remember in this country. They have encouraged this since the day President Obama was elected. Is this America? It's not the America I've known for 60 years. Where is the ability to disagree, yet respect the opinions of others? What happened to honesty? The Tea Baggers, through lie after lie at the wall, hoping some will stick. I'm betting that a goodly number of those who were swearing and cursing members of Congress would call themselves Christians – well Jesus never acted like that. These are nothing but bigots and idiots, and it's really too bad the media gives them coverage.

    It's astonishing to me how these clowns have been duped into working to maintain the profits of the very insurance companies that will, without remorse, cut them off of their health insurance, should they become a "bad risk."

    March 21, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  19. connogs9

    Yes, yes, of course.....the majority of Americans that are against this abomination must be racists and bigots.....give me a break, I'm not saying that this might not have happened, but this is typical liberal media bias trying to change the story and make the reasonable people who oppose this bill seem like marginalized kooks. Guess what dems? If this thing passes the bloodbath of 94 will look like an actual tea party come Nov 2010.

    March 21, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  20. Susie TX

    This is just sad. Where is common decency??? WE ARE AMERICANS FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!!

    March 21, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  21. Mike

    Wow – so sad............

    March 21, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  22. Steive

    The protesters have stepped over the line, they have gone way to far this time. These people are demostc terrorists and I call on taw enforcement to deal with these "people" in the appropriate manner.

    March 21, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  23. bruce ruch

    maybe the bill will include free anger management therapy for these people

    March 21, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  24. Jason

    Way to class it up Republicants.. Your sole mission is to disrupt, obstruct and flat out lie about anything this President is doing to right the ship that has been sinking since the Reagan Presidency! The Republicants & tea-baggers would love nothing more than to bankrupt America & over throw the government.

    Get a grip Republicants.. It isn't 1960 anymore. Health care is an intrinsic right!! A healthier American is a better working American. A healthier American makes for a healthier America!! If you don't like that, tough luck! America is broken and screaming the "n" word isn't going to help. Screaming for lower taxes is a broken record. America needs to raise taxes on things we use and things we should be allowed to use. Like Marijuana, its OUR nations largest cash crop at over $35 Billion a year and untaxed.. Tax at 100% and over 10 years, thats $350 billion without touching your income!

    America can do better than what the Republicants & tea-baggers offer!

    March 21, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  25. Michael Alexander

    Welcome to America

    March 21, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
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