New York Reporter
August 10, 2009
With public opinion turning away from the health care reform effort, President Obama's political allies have become increasingly frustrated. In many cases speeches made by Democratic lawmakers have been picketed by what have been referred to as "angry mobs."
To help counter these demonstrations, some in favor of health care reform have agreed to media interviews to explain their position. Often these forays into the public sphere have been lambasted by conservative radio hosts and outlets such as FOX News.
Tensions have been rising steadily over the last month, with some in the President's own party shying away from the "public option" bill. Congressional leaders have also expressed their anger over the increased protests.
"These extremists are getting in the way of creating a cheaper and more accessible option for millions of disadvantaged Americans." said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). "If these continue, public discourse will devolve into a pool of rage and fistfights."
To make matters more contentious, White House officials have acknowledged that it asked prominent unions to "police" some protests. Unofficial reports have also noted that up to $100,000 in federal funds were paid to the AFL-CIO to attend three Missouri town halls in July.
In addition, with tempers flaring and the potential for violence increasing, the White House and its political allies have struck a different tone. Vice President Biden told a reporter to the NY Reporter that if protests continued and the reform bill was stalled, some of the protestors would "face consequences." When asked to clarify, Biden stated:
"These people come to these meetings and start fistfights and yell down their elected officials. You can't do that and still consider yourself a patriot. You can't go around with swatstikas spreading hate. If you do these things after you're told to calm down, you're going to get arrested."
Some attending local protests have noticed increased police activity, includng officers from federal agencies. Whether these occurances have anything to do with the Vice President's comments are unknown.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009