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. IndependentMinded

    The entire Congress is going to need special protection at the rate they are burying us in debt!

    August 11, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. American Voice

    The so called "angry crowds" are holligans: Small minority but verbal and violent – Yes police protection is needed. A few disturbing people should not be allowed to suppress the will of the majority.

    If anyone has a point to discuss, so he/she should discuss it rather than disturbing peaceful town hall meetings.

    August 11, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  3. Ernie Gonzalez

    I am very disappointed in the level of negative feedback that many of my Americans are expressing on fix-it healthcare ideas. The current system is way too expensive and leaves too many people without coverage and many that will have to opt out of their current insurance plans just to try to meet mortgages and other bills.

    August 11, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  4. American Voice

    Don't care what side of the aisle you are at, you have to respect the law and order and you have to act like a civilized person. I you disturb the peace and you are loud and disrespectful, you will be kicked out – as simple as this!


    August 11, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  5. otto

    Why? It's not like anyone would bring a gun to a town hall meeting?

    August 11, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  6. bob

    of all the mistrust in our healthcare "reformers," most should stem from the resistance to tort reform. our politicians and their lobbyists are lawyers so reform is dismal...

    August 11, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    W ho paid for Capital Hill Police in Pa.? What a whimp.

    August 11, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. Rob

    What we need is Less Government Intervention!!!

    It's funny that Government can't control spending. They have bankrupt social security, welfare, medicare, us postal office, etc., and now you want to take over Healthcare in whole???
    Are you kidding me? It's crazy!

    August 11, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. Penn Voter

    Arlen you are overreacting.

    If you would stop talking down to the voters, stop coming across as "I will tell you what is best for you, don't question my almighty wisdow...." you would be better recieved.

    August 11, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  10. Chris

    Rather than being afraid of the crowd, Mr. Specter and our other leaders would serve themselves better by LISTENING to the complaints and learning to work FOR the people instead of for the PARTY! They should all be doing what is best for America, not trying to install a program as a payback for those voting for them. If they choose to ignore this advise they will surely continue to get yelled at and who knows what else?

    August 11, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  11. lc from ohio

    I cannot understand those who oppose health care reform. We need a better solution than what is current.

    August 11, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  12. brent

    Arlen Specter is an idiot. Not only did he change political party affiliation once re-elected but has hung his constituents out to dry. This is a great example of how "out of touch" these old cronies are with america. We are looking straight down the barrel of socialism and we have a weenie like specter in office not even representing his people of PA. pathetic.

    August 11, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  13. I Can See Argentina from my Front Porch

    I realize we live in tough times, but making threats and intimidating people is not the way to restore this ecomony and deal with healthcare issues.
    And these critics of the healthcare overhaul will not be making a better impression on the public if they let their anger get out of hand.
    No one makes a great impression in prison – and these angry people need to take that into careful consideration before they threaten any politicians. It is not worth throwing one's freedom away just to scream at legislators – after all they are only out for number one.

    August 11, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. Kevin

    Why do these Senators keep having Town Hall Meetings?

    August 11, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  15. makesUwonder

    Isn't it amazing how these Democrats just can't take it when the American people say no more!

    August 11, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  16. Alicia

    I am a Pennsylvanian, and was proud of Senator Specter. I have and will vote for him no matter what party he is in.

    I wish I had known where this group of people were when we started to spend so much money on Iraq. My favorite was the lady that wants her country back. Where did it go? Let me guess, a Black President.

    Do these people realize how diverse the country has become? I bet they have Dora and Diego bedrooms for their children.

    August 11, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  17. mother and sister of a soldier

    Civil unrest is more a threat to this country with each passing day the Obama administration rams their agenda down our throats. They don't seem to be listening to the opposing voices. Specter lost respect of our state when he switched parties strictly to maintain his position. This country is heading in the direction that France is currently experiencing. Of course, not many media outlets are showing the French civil unrest.

    August 11, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  18. S M R

    I don't blame him for wanting protection with all the gun packing hillbillies out there.

    August 11, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  19. Ursella

    What in the heck has this world come to? Republicans love disruption and hate.

    August 11, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  20. Melvin

    It is sad that the republican wingnuts have drowned out any civil discourse on the Health Care reform. If i can humbly suggest here, maybe the democrats and republicans who are really interested in the people in the US should have a look at the health care system used by Singapore where they have a similar systems like medicare and medicaid but yet uses only 4% of their GDP on healthcare. They have been touted as having one of the best systems in terms of infant mortality rate in the world. I hope President Obama will have the courage and steely resolve to carry out this reform.

    August 11, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  21. Chris

    Whether you like him and or not, Arlen Specter has honorably represented the people of Pennsylvania for many years, but the fact that he now feels the need for police protection is a sad sign of the depth to which political discourse in this country has fallen.

    August 11, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  22. IK

    Specter represents all that is wrong with Congress – political opportunitism, a total lack of spine, and the sense of being entitled to permant office holding. He's finished in 2010 – who would vote for this fool?

    August 11, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    i would not waste my time on these town hall meeting because i have a health plan which is a lot better than any man and my plan is my lord and saviour christ jesus.

    August 11, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  24. m smith

    disagreement is part of the process. Rowdy yelling and pushing are not. Most of these people are so ill informed that it is pathetic to listen to their stupid remarks. It is obvious where they are getting their information. I don't think it would make much difference to most of them if they get the right info. They don't like the administration or the president and nothing will change their minds. Except maybe Rush or Sarha or someone like that.

    August 11, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  25. J.P.

    If puny town hall protests fill you with fear, the 2010 midterm elections will scare the holy hell out of incumbent congressmen.

    Incumbent Dump 2010

    Dem or Rep, doesn't matter.
    If you're an incumbent, you're toast.

    August 11, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
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