Town hall discussions of health care, where Democratic lawmakers are routinely confronted by angry voters when they try to sell President Obama's reforms in their districts, are turning ugly as counter protesters have joined the battle.
A forum in Tampa Thursday night degenerated quickly when the complaining constituents were countered by union activists who support the reforms. The meeting was organized by a Florida state lawmaker with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a strong supporter of Obama's plan, on hand.
Castor tried to speak for nearly 15 minutes but the crowd drowned her out, chanting, "You work for us,'' "Tyranny, tyranny,'' and "Read the bill." She stormed out in a huff, but then a crowd of hundreds, many recruited to attend by unions and interest groups, sought to enter the meeting room. There were reports of scuffling but no arrests.
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In the last week, similar disruptive protests have erupted at town hall meetings in several states. The White House has accused interest groups aligned against the health care reforms of ginning up the protests, while protesters say the Democrats are sending unions out to silence protesters.