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. Republican Robber Baron

    Memo to Republican Freshman: Stop the lies. Nobody is buying it. People are smarter than that and not all of your audience is spoon-fed from Fox News – Facts Don't Matter. You thought it was cool to yell during the Healthcare debate...now you don't like your own Death Panel medicine ? Quit doing a bait and switch with the facts...all it does is make people even madder.

    April 26, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. Tim, Seattle

    Get ready Gop, for a long hot summer of townhalls
    We remember the tea tards and their town hall diatribes. Payback time! And its gonna get rowdy

    April 26, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  3. Max

    Americans only have to blame themselves. Remember, they elected these fools.

    April 26, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  4. Really?

    This is just sad, but goes around comes around I guess.

    April 26, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  5. Kevin Cantu

    Shoe is on the other foot it looks like for the Republicans. No Tea Party to the rescue on this one......

    April 26, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. Pat

    Ginned up. You sure did not use that word when Tea Party were whipping up their righteous anger not too long ago. Fair and Balanced? More like Fox Noise every day. Except for AC you are pretty much cut from same cloth.

    April 26, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans plan for Medicare is no more than a "PONZI SCHEME" to return seniors money right back into coffers of the rich and this isn't what people voted these CON ARTIST in office to do in the first place. READ MY LIPS.

    April 26, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. Mike in WA

    So much for democrats being the party of understanding and civility.

    April 26, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  9. Marla

    Good! It's about time that the Democrats got organized and gave those GOTPers back what they've been giving for the past few years. I hope it happens all across the country.

    April 26, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    for some reason the old saying "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" comes to play here.

    April 26, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  11. Abdul

    There is some poetic justice for those who are unable to connect the dots.

    1) U.S debt has to be confronted and there is no way of doing this without addressing "Entitlement Programs". Millitary Industrial Complex (MIC) will remain unreformed.

    2) What accelerated but did not necessarily cause these set of actions to be taken now was the massive debt brought by the unnecessary war in Iraq and the very necessary war in Afghanistan, together with the untold BILLIONS lost due to their mismanagement.

    3) Many of these old folks who voted for Bush/Cheney are now about to lose their entitlement...Floridans?

    April 26, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. Charlie in Maine

    Ye who shall sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind. Ha ha ha !

    April 26, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. Kenny

    Tea-Publicans trying to rip off the American tax paying public so they can give additional tax breaks to their Big Cooperation Oweners and the public is not going to hear it. Republican Lawmakers have been exposed as the theives they are. Now the only thing remaining is to vote them out of office or put them in a corner and tar and feather them. Their choice.

    April 26, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    So there we have it. The Dems finally get the nerve to do the same thing the GOP did with the Teatards, albeit in a less clandestine manner, and the first thing the "liberal media" does is try to undermine it by painting it as "ginned up"...and yet we have never once...NOT ONCE...seen an article or story tracing the Astroturf Frankenstein money and organization to where it really comes from, where they get their messaging training and instructions on how to usurp public discourse with astroturf comment postings, etc...and all of it...ALL OF IT...is verifiably astroturf and traceable to corporate and wealthy interests backing the GOP. Instead we got some milquetoast "oh, isn't this just a wonderful grassroots uprising" roll over and play dead for the establishment "journalism."

    April 26, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. BeanerECMO

    And, the only reason they asked so many questions about Medicare is because they have been listening too much to the dem talking points and lame street media without doing independent research on their own. The dems know they will always get a lot of people on the bandwagon with their fear mongering over those entitlements – "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." Thomas Jefferson. Additionally, it is in the dem playbook, now, to disrupt, obfuscate, and divert the discussions in the town hall meetings of the republicants (sic), because they don't want real solutions or facts to be presented (hellooooo SEIU) – the republicants are afraid of their own shadows, and won't take on directly BHO and his henchmen. Where's my ration card for more dog and cat food, because I won't have enough if my Medicare is cut. It's a choice between food and medicine. BS!!! BS!!! BS!!!

    April 26, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  16. Dave, Illinois

    So Libs, where is the astroturf now? The Tea Party is a genuine movement where these Lib thugs are hired goons from the lazy gravy-sucing Democrat hoards....

    April 26, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  17. M

    I find it interesting that Rep. Webster didn't defend the fairness of the GOP plan but instead stated that it wouldn't kick in for 10 years. Basically, he wasn't telling the crowd that it was the right thing to do; he was instead telling them not to worry because they wouldn't personally be affected. The Republicans know good and well that they can't make such a plan effective tomorrow, or the senior citizens would eviscerate them at the polls, so they're taking the coward's way out and pushing the changes off into the future. Well, guys, I'm young enough that I would be affected, and I'll remember what you're doing when the next general election comes around.

    April 26, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  18. Clwyd

    I love it! The truth needs to be heard and the republicans are selling America to the highest bidder of corporations, big business, big insurance, Wall Street and now the rich!

    April 26, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  19. Johnson

    Funny. These are the same people who would walk into a voting booth and vote republican. Bush spent us into oblivian and know when it is time to pay up we all want to blame obama and the middle class. These are same people who voted for bush, TWICE!!!

    April 26, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  20. Roscoe

    I guess if you're a Tea Bagger, you're going to get tea bagged.

    April 26, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  21. Kara

    Wow, when this was happening during the healthcare deate, I never heard CNN accuse the republicans of being plants.
    And 'ginning up fears'?
    The democrats are telling the TRUTH.
    The Ryan plan ENDS medicare and replaces it with a voucher.
    I'm not surprised the people of CNN no longer recognise the truth however, since you've obviously given up telling it!
    How much exactly is the RNC PAYING you guys to sell down your country?

    April 26, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  22. Kara

    PS i don't expect any of that to actually make it unto your blog, so happy censoring.

    April 26, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  23. doight

    If there were organized protestors sent by democrats too bad. The Republicans did far worse, in fact they have incited violence, and the killing of Physicians.

    April 26, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  24. Birdwatcher1

    I don't blame the folks one bit for being worried about Medicare. The GOP doesn't care about them as much as it cares about the ultra rich and the large corporations – that is, after all, who owns them.

    April 26, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  25. Dave

    well there you go – people don't like what the Republicans are trying to do this Country.

    April 26, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
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