Organized opposition dominates Bass town hall
August 27th, 2011
04:31 PM ET
10 years ago

Organized opposition dominates Bass town hall

Nashua, New Hampshire (CNN) - Working-class anger bubbled over at a town hall hosted by Rep. Charlie Bass Saturday, when dozens of organized activists berated the Republican congressman for not helping the job market in his home state.

"During the ’90s we could afford to hire members of the community, but now we're barely able to pay ourselves," said Greg Goldberg, a furniture store manager who wore an Obama 2012 cap. "How much longer are we going to be able to do even that if companies continue to get tax breaks while continuing to send our jobs overseas?"

Many in the audience - including an organized group that traveled by van to the event - tried to turn the meeting into a rowdy debate as they scoffed at Bass' answers and applauded each other's hostile questions.

Bass stood at the podium with his sleeves rolled up and two bottles of water at hand, scribbling down questions on a sheet of paper as he called on even the most defiant questioners.

"To what degree did working-class Americans contribute to this crisis?" asked Tess George, a Democrat who said "Wall Street greed" and spending on foreign wars were to blame for the debt crisis.

Bass responded that Democrats should share the blame for the struggling economy, saying the president had several years to create jobs. He told the audience the Obama administration's stimulus initiative helped prove that spending would not pull the country out of its economic slump.

"We've got to create an environment in which businesses want and can employ people to do real jobs," Bass said. "And my ideas for that - I know you won't like, but they're the only hope, in my opinion that we have at this point - and that is to lower our corporate tax rate so it's competitive –"

He was cut off by shouts and groans in the audience. Bass then added Congress would work to make the tax code "simpler and fairer" in the fall.

Some of the outspoken opposition said they were members of the American Dream movement, a progressive group that advocates for middle-class workers.

At times, Bass would listen to a speaker's question and then say he had already answered with his thoughts. When one questioner became heated, Bass said: "Fair enough, that's your view, not mine."

He also pointed out that with 5.2% unemployment, New Hampshire is better off than many other states.

At one point a man asked Bass about his thoughts on General Electric, which pays little to no federal taxes and has become the target of liberal ire.

"In answer to your question, I don't believe that companies are people," Bass replied, drawing applause from the audience.

On the campaign trail, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has attracted notice by saying "corporations are people too" in defense of low tax rates for businesses.

Not to be outdone, some conservatives in the audience attacked Bass for signing onto the deal to raise the debt ceiling.

One man called Bass' vote on the debt deal "gutless" because it didn't cut enough spending.

After an hour of questions, Bass thanked the group and said the back-and-forth gave him "renewed vigor and optimism" about the electorate.

"I welcome you to come and I appreciate the fact that you're here," he said.

Filed under: House • New Hampshire
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. NickAnast

    Interesting. In 2009, when FreedomWorks and other conservative organizations were busing in organized protesters to disrupt Democrats' town hall meetings–even going as far as to post instructions on how to disrupt a meeting online–there was no mention of such organized activities in MSM news coverage. But when it happens to a Republican, CNN makes sure to point this out, as if it wouldn't have happened otherwise.

    August 27, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  2. Michelle

    I bet they are sorry they took this 5 weeks vacation after having to work over the weekend. I wish I had a job to work on the weekend. I'm glad the people are opening up their eyes and see the republicans for what they are. Forget about jobs, lets just make sure Obama is a one time president. I'll vote for Stevie Wonder before I ever vote republican again.

    August 27, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. DJ

    This would be fine if there weren't so many misconceptions about who is to blame for what. Poisonous politics will be the death of this country due to their adversarial tones and interests.

    August 27, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. bigwilliestyles

    Lower corporate tax rates! Lower corporate tax rates. Ten+ years of corporate tax cuts have resulted in millions of jobs being shipped to India, China, S. Korea, Taiwan, etc, and his solution: more corporate tax cuts. This while recording record profits, and no jobs. Anyone voting republican needs some serious mental health help.

    August 27, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Squigman

    Vote the republican bastards out. Dont waste your breath berating them to their faces. Hell, when you've got no conscience, what does it matter what people say to you. Voting them out makes a better statement. Keeping them out makes an even better statement.

    August 27, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  6. Larry L

    Republicans are finding out that just being "against" everything isn't enough. Folks can finally see they've been nothing but political terrorists impeding any progress the President has worked toward during these tough times. People know the Republicans got us into this mess and have done nothing to fix it!

    August 27, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. Ron

    LOL. You poor saps haven't heard the worst of it yet. Republicans/Tea Partiers want to LOWER minimum wages "in order to lure corporations back to the US"!! How's that tea tasting nowadays? A little bitter I'd suspect. Get rid of those clowns before they destroy OUR country. They haven't the faintest idea how to govern. Great experiment with the tea-publicans.....not!

    August 27, 2011 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. MikeH

    Calling all Republican boot-licking toadies (like "TEA PARTY Mike"), the Republican Central Committee needs you to post all the lies and misinformation you can about this ticker article.

    They can't allow a story about everyman outraged Americans standing up to a Republican congressman trying to tell lies.

    Good job Hew Hampshire, you are true Americans.

    August 27, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  9. Ed

    You want to start bring our jobe back to America then match the tax rate other countries are giving our companies think about 35% of -0- is 0 but 15% of something is tax dollars back into our pockets and more jobs here.

    You would think a fifth grader could see this it makes no difference if you are a Dem or Repub just do it people.

    August 27, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I would like to know what the GOP has done to get their big business contributors to start hiring people to work here in the US. It is the responsiblity of those in charge to get jobs started here and the GOP has the most connection to large employers. Why aren't they doing more? This guy and the rest of the GOP in the House should be sweating.

    August 27, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  11. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Why didn't someone exercise their second amendment shoe rights and throw one?

    August 27, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  12. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    He'll be on Fox News next week claiming that all of the citizens he represents support the Teabag agenda!

    August 27, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  13. bill486

    I thought it was illegal to get angry at republicans.....

    August 27, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  14. MTATL67

    "The Obama administration's stimulus initiative helped prove that spending would not pull the country out economic slump." One it was not to pull us out of the slump but stop a collapse. Second every single GOP candidate took stimulus money. Ask the fiscal terrorist candidate how the buses in St. Cloud, Mn got paid for. It is time for the Republican Congressmen to explain why they have slowed the recovery by their lack of action and following the "No to everything" policy. They sure took the money and spent it but refused to build up a momentum to keep the recovery going. I will be asking my Ga. GOP representatives the same questions at their town halls.

    August 27, 2011 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  15. CaliforniaBC

    Actually Mr Bass, the stimulus did prove that spending works to fix the economy. Just look at the GDP when it first came out and how it dropped off as the monies dried up. We also saw hiring moving forward. We saw 16 months of private sector hiring which ended in July 2011 during the debt debacle and the state level govenment cuts that caused the unemployment rate to increase. getting the anger thrown your way doesn't it?

    August 27, 2011 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    The GOP has not yet put forth any sensible jobs plan. That is true.

    On the other hand, Obama has had 2.5 yrs. to put forth one.......and he continues to IGNORE jobs.

    August 28, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  17. vic , nashville ,tn

    After debt ceiling debate republicans cut the many town hall meeting

    August 28, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |

    Looks like NH isn't like Iowa where the bumpkins rule.

    August 28, 2011 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  19. JustSaying2U

    I have to give Congressman Bass credit for merely showing up and facing the criticism him and his Republican cronies deserve. I wish my Congressman (Bob Goodlatte) had as much backbone. He'll continue to preach to the choir from his hand-picked audiences.

    August 28, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  20. Clwyd

    Republicans everywhere are talking the PARTY LINE to lower taxes for corporations while never mentioning the loopholes that Buffet said allowed him to be paying only 17.4% in taxes. If you leave those loopholes untouched and give corporation more tax breaks we know who has bought and paid for the republican party. Disgraceful as it is! Town Hall Meetings will end as the republicans take the heat from the public over their one sided solutions to problems and being uncompromising!

    August 28, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  21. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    "Bass responded that Democrats should share the blame for the struggling economy, saying the president had several years to create jobs."

    More lies from yet another out-of-touch GOBPbagger. Anyone with half a brain (yes, that excludes many teatards) know that (a) the GOBP has consistently and repeatedly opposed the president's jobs initiatives while (b) claiming to themselves have a "jobs plan" they ran on in 2010. Despite this alleged plan, no such plan has been introduced by the GOBP. Instead, like the good goose-steppin' cult members they are, they double down on stupid with their insane calls for more of their already disproved policy failures like deregulation and tax cuts for the ultrarich. Grow up you morons, on don't come back until you can acknowledge your failures.

    August 28, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  22. Libs are crazy

    It is completely wrong to bus in people to a congressman's district to badger him. The only people that have that right are those in his district. If there is anger or unhappiness, it should be from people in his district, no the American Dream Movement.

    August 28, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
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