Crowd turns loud at town hall session for freshman GOP rep
A copy of the 2012 House Republican budget proposal during a news conference April 5, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
April 26th, 2011
08:04 PM ET
4 years ago

Crowd turns loud at town hall session for freshman GOP rep

Washington (CNN) – House Republicans back home for congressional recess have been getting some tough questions about plans to overhaul Medicare, but GOP freshman Daniel Webster's town hall meeting in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday was beyond tough - it turned into a chaotic scene.

Webster used charts and graphs to try to explain the controversial House GOP budget he voted for, but he could barely be heard over angry yelling - mostly about the Medicare proposal.


As one man held a sign saying "keep your hands off my Medicare," another woman screamed that the congressman voted to give corporations a tax cut "but take away Medicare for people like me."

Webster tried to explain that the GOP plan - which would create new private accounts for seniors to choose from - would not kick in for some 10 years, and not affect anyone age 55 or older. But it was hard to get his message across over the cacophony of loud voices in the audience.

Another man asked if Webster was voting to "privatize Medicare and cut VA benefits," and accused Webster of giving away "all these tax cuts."

Before Webster could answer, there was more yelling.

Some in the crowd came to Webster's defense, chanting, "Let him talk, let him talk!"

It was hard to determine how much of the anger was genuine, and how much was ginned up by Democrats who are making it their mission during this two-week congressional recess to attack Republicans on Medicare. In fact, CNN covered this town hall after Democrats put in on a list of Republican events they planned to target.

Some in attendance told CNN they were everyday, average citizens, but others appeared to be organized by liberal groups. The Orlando Sentinel reported that some of the angry audience members included those with the left-leaning Moveon.org.

Regardless, it was one of the more raucous town hall events in some time, reminiscent of the kind of anger Democrats faced in 2009 and 2010 over their plans to overhaul health care.

Things got so tumultuous at the Orlando session that a police officer eventually came to the front of the room to try to calm people down.

"Excuse me, we are all adults here, we're not going to get things solved by yelling and screaming and hollering," said the officer.

"We are grown people, we're grown people, let's conduct ourselves likewise," he said.


Filed under: Budget • House • Republicans
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. rusty155

    The Republican are only out to help the Rich get richer. Big Business not paying no taxes. Why do you think that everything the Republican and the Tea party that are really the same , cut In there Budget Is all way against the Middle Class, the POOR and the OLD. the Republican and the Tea Party have to go In 2012 or It only going to get worst.

    April 26, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  2. johnRJ08

    The article fails to mention that Webster lied continuously to his audience about how the so-called "Path to Prosperity" would end Medicare as we know it.

    April 26, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  3. TM

    Awww, the poor Republicans aren't being cheered at Town Hall meetings. What a pity. Maybe we should start calling their plan "Ryancare"?

    April 26, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  4. Jim8

    Why is it ok to screw people 10 years from now?

    the Republican Party does not understand what has made our country what it is. Social Security and Medicare took the neediest group of people and turned them into consumers.

    One has to wonder where we would be if we had elected Al Gore and his lock box instead of W and his tax cuts for the rich and the effort to dismantle (privatize) Social Security.

    April 26, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  5. Squigman

    Stay stupid. If you swallow the lies they tell to get elected, you'll regret it. Republicans, lie to gain a foothold in elections, then ravage the entitlement programs you depend on to live. Stay stupid. Maybe next time you'll remember the lies you ate with a spoon during the last election. Since congress changed hands in the mid-term, the republicans believe they have a mandate to do whatever they want. Believe it or not, they'll do whatever corporate America wants them to do, nothing else.
    But at all cost. Stay stupid.

    April 26, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  6. Tom in Atlanta

    "Why yessirreee Officer Jimbob, let's all be adults here. After all, that's the way the Tea Party acted during the health care debate. Let's all be friends and have some lemonade and act swell!"

    April 26, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. Jack

    Let's be honest–the GOP wants to give lump sums in place of Medicare. They're going to pull this fast one by telling those 55 and older it won't affect them. But this means, for future generations, the end of Medicare as we know it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    It's one thing to tighten regulations, crack-down on waste and fraud, raise Social Security retirement age etc, but it's a completely different story to give lump sums in place of lifetime medical care.

    April 26, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  8. irene

    Hooray – The GOP fueled discourse at town hall meetings is back-firing on them. I hope they like a taste of their own medicine. The DNC will take back the House in 2012!!!!! Stop the tax cuts for the wealthy 1% and stay out of our medicare & Social Security. Give us the real health (insurance) reform that we were supposed to get before the GOP got their hands on it.

    April 26, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. TEL

    The writer who wrote this article must forget that this Congressman is representing all sides. It is right that those opposed to to the Congressman's vote be there- and rant if necessary just as the tea partiers did before.

    April 26, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  10. srichey

    Message from GOP.
    Cut corporate taxes and stick it to the elderly.
    Probably not true, but that is what I keep hearing from them. I'm sure it was orchestrated by the democrats; however, turnabout is fair play. Too bad this type of idiocy is what is running the country.

    April 26, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People

    Guess we will see in the next election if the over 65 crowd is all tea baggers as the GOP suggest, or not.

    I just think the GOP is hearing from the very grandma's and grandpa's they intend to kick out of the nursing homes with Medicaid "block grants"(yes a third of Medicaid does go to the elderly in nursing homes), not to mention the the "premium support"(GOP talking point strategy, call it premium support now, not "vouchers").

    I cannot wait until the "freshman" tells them that he and the GOP want to open the donut hole again!

    April 26, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  12. randumbguy

    Gotta love the cop - "We are grown people..." Congress is bunch of spoiled two year olds, why would you expect anyone attending a congress critter town hall meeting to be any different. Point is, Americans are unwilling to pay for the services.

    April 26, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
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