August 11th, 2009
08:46 PM ET
13 years ago

Specter gets special police protection

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's brought Capitol Hill police to his rowdy town halls on Tuesday."]Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Tough crowds asking pointed questions is not the only concern Sen. Arlen Specter has as he holds town halls all across his home state of Pennsylvania.

He's also concerned about his personal safety, which is why he brought along some United States Capitol Hill Police officers as he traveled to two town halls on Tuesday.

The sometime raucous events in Lebanon and Lewisburg, which Specter called "civil," were largely full of constituents expressing their anger over the health care plan working its way through Congress.

The Democrat earlier this year switched parties and could face a tough re-election fight next year.

After his town hall event at the campus of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Specter defended his decision to have Congress' special police force travel with him back home.

"I would say, that given the temper of the times, the fact that in some areas there have been fights breaking out and people hospitalized - and one member's statue was hanged in effigy - [safety] is a big challenge," said Specter.

Despite his expressed need for special security, Specter admitted heated confrontation is part of the job.

"It's challenging. I've been part of some challenging situations and that’s part of the pay grade."

Adding that he thought the rhetoric was "within acceptable limits," Specter told reporters that economic and political anxieties have created a "level of anger in the country" that has not been seen since the Great Depression.

Taking tough questions in the face of adversity and security concerns prompted on man in Lewisburg to tell Specter, "I can't believe you run for this office."

Filed under: Arlen Specter • Health care
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. sharon cannon

    We americans are not stupid. This healthcare bill is not good for americans. Vote it down.

    Yours truly,
    A tax paying american who knows what's going one. I read the bill

    August 11, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  2. Matt, Austin TX

    Rather than waste more money with special security, Specter and all other members of congress should put together a health care bill that is understood and *then* present it to people. As Specter himself admitted, there is no specific plan. So asking people to support what will amount to over a trillion dollars of spending for a plan that is undefined will of course produce a lot of anger. Obama and Congress need to get it together.

    August 11, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  3. T Mckinley

    All of this anger, all of this rage, all of this because a black man was elected POTUS.

    They want him to fail. They desparately want the black man to fail.

    If a black President ends up being sucessful, if his policies actually work, what in heaven's name will they do?

    HE must be stopped. At all costs. Whatever it takes. Their prejudice, their discrimination, their bigotry and racism, their pre-civil rights and pre-civil war ideology must be justified.

    So they throw tea parties and disrupt health care town halls. They make up stories about our President not being born in the USA. Why? Because Barack "Hussein" Obama cannot, shall not, and must not be a sucessful President.

    They can't afford to let the black man succeed. It would destroy everything they believe in.

    August 12, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  4. Elizabeth Conerly

    Look at a clip from the Jim Crow South era when the all white mobs were sobbing uncontrollably and foaming at the mouth outside of schools, because they did not want the so-called "inferior humans" to be around their so-called "pure, righteous white" students. Then compare that clip to the current footage of these protesters and so-called "concerned citizens,' you will notice the same demeanor. And when you speak with them, you hear the same ignorant-based fear and outlandish claims from todays majority all-white mobs. This mob mentality both now and then is ran through the true sleeping giant, multicultural ignorance and intolerance i.e. racism! (I am a PhD student in MS, and my dissertation is multicultural effectiveness by properly negotiating cultural differences and similarities.

    August 12, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  5. Jason, Nevada

    These absurd mobs only prove how important education is for this country. An open mind is able to absorb information from different sources and make informed decisions. The uneducated ones are being spoon fed information and they are being whipped up into a feeding frenzy. They are being manipualted pure and simple! Wake up!

    August 12, 2009 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  6. Kevin

    I have a feeling that a lot of the anger towards Specter may not be completely from the healthcare proposal. It may also be because people who elected him to office as a republican, elected to support the republican platform, supported by the republicans, only to turn his back on the people who elected him to office.

    Honestly he needs to step down. If he wants to be elected to office as a democrat, he need to run as a democrat. To me what he did was fraud, and I truely hope the people who elected him run him straight out.

    August 12, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  7. nea-nea

    Its a shame that people can be so disrespectful and im not knocking anyone from freedom of speech but why do you have to be so disrespectul if you dont agree with healthcare thats ok but why do you have to yell and want to be so unruly? Maybe you dont want it or dont need it thats alright but what about the ones that do need it they cant even get answers because of the ones thatact like they are so upst about something that havent even been written and passed yet.

    August 12, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  8. Independent

    OK this stupidity by the white right wing mob has to stop. Police do your job and start making arrests.....Remember Public Disorderly Conduct

    August 12, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  9. Cliff

    I had always thought the fine folks of PA were of sane mind.
    However, their continual backing of "Spincster" makes me wonder.
    He is a perfect example of the need for TERM LIMITS!!!!
    Two terms for Senate.
    Four terms for House.
    Dump people like Rangel, Frank, Pelosi, et al!

    August 12, 2009 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  10. bill

    So ironic: Members of Congress have been hurting the citizens of the U.S. for two centuries, and now they want to be protected from the people. Who will protect the citizens from the legislators?

    August 12, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  11. JB in Wisconsin

    First of all, no one said a word when bush was attacked the same way with death threats and burning of his postors. With that said though, I give Spector credit for the way he handled himself at the town halls. Good job of composure!!!!

    August 12, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  12. Bob of Lompoc

    Punk Republican gangsters, trying to undo the Obama Election. There are no sex or money scandals, he maintains + 50% approval ratings, so they HAVE to do this. It will pass.

    August 12, 2009 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  13. Jon

    He needs it. Traitors to their parties deserve anything that happens to them. He could have honorably retired as a Republican; now he is going to lose his seat as a Democrat. Good Riddance.

    August 12, 2009 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
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