Town Halls Continue Across The Country
Boos and cheers at events across the nation indicate that the often-tense and vitriolic August town halls continue. Sen. John McCain, D.-Ariz., "said Tuesday that President Obama's efforts to reform health care have sparked 'a peaceful revolt in America,'" CNN reports. "'I've seen involvement and engagement on the part of Americans that I have never seen the likes of which before,' McCain said at a town hall in Phoenix, the first of eight such meetings he will hold around the state this week." While the Senator "firmly rejected the idea of a government-run insurance option, saying it would eventually drive private insurers out of business and lead to a full government takeover of health care, he echoed his 2008 campaign platform and said it would be irresponsible to simply 'do nothing' - especially with the threat of Medicare and Social Security going broke." He called for "constructive, free market incentives" to improve the health care system (8/26).
The Washington Times: "Thirty minutes before Mr. Dean and [Moran] arrived [at the Reston event], hundreds of people on one side of the gym began chanting: 'We can't afford it!' Hundreds more on opposite bleachers began their own chant: 'Yes, we can!' deploying Mr. Obama's campaign slogan. 'No, we can't! No, we can't!' people chanted back from the first side of the bleachers" (Curl, 8/26).
The Hill: However, also in Reston, "Supporters of healthcare reform showed Tuesday night that they can pack a room, too." Organizing for America, Obama's political organization, prompted supporters to attend the event and provided signs. The Hill described opponents as a "vocal minority."
The Kansas City Star: Hundreds of miles away, "Supporters clearly outnumbered skeptics among the 1,300 people who attended a health care town hall continued, "Democrats said the pro-reform turnout was a sign their party was finally mobilizing just as Congress prepares to return from its August recess" (Helling, 8/24).
The Seattle Times: Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., faced a 2,500-person crowd at a town-hall meeting meant to address the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The voters, however, had brought their own topic, as well as signs and rally calls to the meeting. The chants ranged from "Health Care Now!" to simply, "No!" (Federis, 8/26).
Roll Call: At an event last week, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., told voters in a Democratic-leaning district that he did not think Congress would pass a reform bill this year. "We're heading in the direction of doing absolutely nothing, and I think that's unfortunate," he said, according to a the Lakeland Times, a local paper that first reported the comment (Drucker, 8/25).
Politico: Back in Virginia, Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., "was caught in the crossfire" of liberals arguing over whether health reform is "simply a moral imperative" and Constitution-shaking conservatives "warning of a power grab" by the government. Afterwards, Connolly said what many Democrats are thinking: "that their failure to anticipate the ferocious opposition to reform had set back the effort to build support for a bill" (Martin, 8/26).