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Town Hall Talk: Protesters Sidelined at DeMint Meeting

By Sarah Lovenheim
Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) town hall meeting in Myrtle Beach, S.C., drew at least 500 people from the right and left. Several town hall meetings held recently across the country have been disrupted by protesters but according to the South Carolina Sun's Claudia Lauer, this one "stayed civil."

WBTW's Aisha Kahn said the meeting "was far from a loud and shouting match."

Protesters handed out leaflets and held posters as people entered Rioz Steakhouse, the site of the event. But they were asked to stay on the sidewalk across the street "away from almost everyone entering the town hall," according to the Sun, and several left before the event ended.

DeMint pushed what he considers the keys to effective health-care reform: increasing competition among insurance companies, paying more attention to malpractice suits and avoiding a government-run system.

During the Q & A session that followed his remarks, just "one person chosen to speak challenged DeMint" on his position.

Here's a rundown of some of Thursday's upcoming town hall meetings:

Shelby, N.C. -- Rep. Patrick McHenry (R) meets with constituents at the Charles A. Harry Cleb County Administration Building at 6 p.m.

Moore, S.C. -- Rep. Bob Inglis (R) meets with constituents at R.D. Anderson Applied Tech Center at noon.

Lovingston, Va. -- Rep. Tom Pierrlello (D) meets with constituents at the Nelson Center at 5:30 p.m.

Conroe, Tex. -- Rep. Kevin Brady (D) meets with constituents at the Conroe Regional Hospital at noon.

Midland, Tex. -- Rep. Mike Conoway (R) meets with constituents. Time tba.

Oklahoma -- Rep. Frank Lucas (R) has four meetings lined up with constituents today:1) Park Pavilion, Morrison at 9:30 a.m., 2) Pery Municipal Building, Perry at noon, 3) Billings City Hall, Billings at 1:30 p.m., and 4) Autry Technology Center, Enid at 4 p.m.

More Oklahoma town halls -- Sen. Tom Coburn (R) holds two meetings with constituents -- one at Bristow City Hall in Bristow at 10:00 a.m., the other at Bartlesville Community Center in Bartlesville at 3 p.m.

Anchorage, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) meets with constituents at A.J. Diamond High School at 5:00 p.m.

Alabama town halls -- Rep. Jo Bonner (R) holds three constituent meetings today: 1) City Hall, Bay Minette, 8:00 a.m., 2) Poarch Creek Indian Reservation Auditorium, Atmore, 10:00 a.m.,and 3) City Hall, East Brewton, 2:00 p.m.

West Warwick, R.I. -- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) meets with constituents at West Warwick Senior Center at 6 p.m.

Tell us about noteworthy town hall meetings happening near you at

By Washington Post editors  |  August 20, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Next: Town Hall Talk: Oklahoma Lawmakers Crisscross State


If we let the government run our healthcare it will be another failure. They can’t run Medicare now and you want them to run everyone’s healthcare? That is so silly. This is nothing but another power grab by the Obama Administration. Just like the reports of a media consulting firm with ties to White House senior strategist David Axelrod has been hired to produce a multi-million dollar ad campaign touting the Obama administration's health care overhaul. How much corruption are we going to let happen before we stop it? Just like the Cash for Clunkers bill, how is getting Americans to turn in cars that are paid off and working fine helping Americans bottom line? This program is going to do the same thing as it did in the mortgage crisis and get people who can’t afford to buy something making payments that they were not making before.
This is the same thinking and policy making that decided that after a mortgage mess that the thing to do is offer people 8K to buy houses. How is that going to help? You are just tempting people to buy things that they can’t afford. Isn’t this how our economy got in this predicament anyway? We need to elect leaders that can make decisions and write legislation that makes since. Not dream up a cockamamie scam to stimulate the economy, not wreck it. It is time to elect leaders that have brains and that are not under the thumb of special interest and lobbyist. By the way, ask yourself this question..Why isn’t the Obama administrations putting the same effort that they are putting into the healthcare take over to putting Americans back to work? He did promise that he would do that. What is more important to you?

Posted by: mongo9584 | August 20, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Once again I ask why would the Republicans, and the insurance companies who pay them, bus in protesters to scream at people who are toeing the insurance companies line?

Posted by: alysheba_3 | August 20, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"paying more attention to malpractice suits"

Good idea. Avoid doctors getting sued for malpractice.

Posted by: owldog | August 21, 2009 3:22 AM | Report abuse

I noticed you didn't criticize the subsidies low and middle income people would get to pay for insurance.

So let me get this straight. The tax payer can pay the government to subsidize private profit-making Wall street companies, but the government cannot provide insurance directly to its own citizen taxpayers?

I don't see how that will control inflation in health care.

Posted by: owldog | August 21, 2009 3:27 AM | Report abuse

You are to be congratulated for reporting on a peaceful town hall meeting. Too many Media only report when there is some ACTION. Could it be that a rational meeting is so rare that it is news worthy? I hope not! Perhaps somebody needs to take a survey of all such meetings and tell us what percentage degenerates into a shouting match. Yes, the proposals stand improvement and yes, the public needs to be better informed. But shouting down those who try to explain the program gets us nowhere.

Posted by: schumann-bonn | August 21, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

My husband is retiring and we will end up paying over $1000 per month for health insurance that carries a $3000/year per person deductible. Don't tell me the government can't do a better job. I hope we can wait until we're 65 to get affordable insurance...

Posted by: idahomom1 | August 21, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

My husband is retiring and we will end up paying over $1000 per month for health insurance that carries a $3000/year per person deductible. Don't tell me the government can't do a better job. I hope we can wait until we're 65 to get affordable insurance...

Posted by: idahomom1 | August 21, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

It took a bit of time for the gist of this article to gell.

Jim DeMint goes before a crowd of has adoring public to tell them that he feels the way they do. They don't protest. Only ONE question is in any way opposed to what he has to say. Meanwhile the opposition is asked to stay well away from the friendly people going to support the Senator.

And this is news? George and Dick spent eight years doing this sort of nonsense, spent eight years hearing only their side of the debate, and gave us eight years of Republican incompetence.

Jim DeMint continues the tradition. He is against a national health care system, and has already publicly voiced his intent to vote against any bill the Democrats might write.

Apparently Senator Demint is living ten or so years behind the rest of the country.

Tell the republicans to go sit quietly in a corner and stay out of the way. The U. S. cannot afford any more years of Republican Public health Policy, especially the kind that subordinates science to party ideology.

Give us a full national health care system, with as a minimum a Public Option open to all Americans and legal resident aliens. Pay for it with increased tariffs if necessary. Let Republicans who don't want socialized medicine buy their own health care how ever they choose, (but they HAVE to choose something, because opting out of health care insurance when you are healthy and demanding to be allowed to buy in only when you get sick is pure Republican Parasitism.) and let the fact that a great many health care professionals will decide that they would rather work with the Government, which may have byzantine administrative procedures, but is bound by those procedures to actually do what the procedures require, where Private insurance not only has byzantine procedures, but can decide unilaterally to refuse to do what they promised even after all of the byzantine procedures have been followed.

At least the Government can't retroactively cancel your policy, and still keep the premiums you paid, by the way.
DeMint and Kyl and the rest of the crooks who want to keep their rich friends getting richer and the rest of us nearly bankrupt lost the last election. They actually have no say in policies that they rejected when they ran, since the majority of the country voted to reject their policies.

Full National Health care with Full Public Option available.


Posted by: ceflynline | August 22, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are using the same tactics in the health care debate that led us into a useless war in Iraq, scare people and lie to them.

Posted by: djmaschek | August 22, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, I’m pleased for the “peaceful” town meeting. Apparently, irrational behavior has been somewhat sidelined after the first week of gun toting, scream sessions that for a time stymied the town hall sessions across the country. Now it seems the more sensible and democratic tactics of voicing our concerns and attempting to get answers to very legitimate questions have persevered. Unfortunately there are no answers given the fact that right now there IS NO Health Reform initiative right now. There are several differing paths that have passed the house, but nothing substantial from the Senate or other committees working on the initiative. Yet I have to give the Republicans credit for their highly successful crusade of dis-information, scare tactics and use of selective statistics and hypocrisy.

The private health insurance industry (still) controls medical decision-making between you and your doctor and then only if you are lucky enough not to have a pre-existing condition in which case you can’t get insurance. Do any of you republicans even remember the last time this country dealt with any sort of health care benefit (i.e. the 2003 Medicare part B initiative passed by only 51 republican votes)? The Republicans legislated this concept but refused to provide a way to pay for it and we were prohibited from trying to get bulk discounts from the pharmaceutical industry thus enabling the industry to reap billions in profits over the last 6 years. Republicans also went to war with Afghanistan and then lied their way into a war with Iraq while cutting taxes for the weathiest Americans. Who goes to war without a tax increase? Your ideology brought this country to its knee’s economically, and then decided to bail out the billionaires. Yet enough time has passed that polls are starting to confirm our nation (who has such short memories) believes it is the democrats who brought us to near catastrophe.

How sad!!!

Posted by: dncevans | August 22, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Listening to Republicans and their health insurance industry sponsors one would think that our current system is okay. That those of us who are currently insured are not worried over the high co-pays and denial of claims on technicality. That the insurance industry does not provide incentives for its staff to look for ways to deny coverage. That left to their own devices the industry will not continue to profit whilst dropping the sick. That American industry's lack of global competitiveness is to large measure, due to the strangle hold this industry has over our bottom line. Why don't our Republican members of the Health Insurance Hallelujah Chorus forgo their voter paid for insurance and buy their individual policies from the private market? There is a disconnect between the reality of the life of the average citizen and our millionaire representatives. Who feels our pain? Other than through 30 second commercials during the voting season. Investigative Reporters please rise up! Cheney's sword of oppression is no longer hanging over our heads!

Posted by: loveforall | August 24, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Contrary to what some have written, Medicare runs just fine. (As does the VA and medical for our American's in service.) Unfortunately, Doc's get paid by procedure so some abuse it. I know because I was a care giver to my elderly mother. I protested strongly when a doctor would pull this. However, I am thankful for Medicare because it saved me from the poor house. As a widower my mother did not plan for health care in her later years. AND many do not have a plan B if they loose their job!!! claudiatucsonaz

Posted by: claudiam1 | August 24, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Once and for all it is time for the South to secede. It comprises the dregs of society, inbreds and poisonous scum. It is a disgrace and its very existence shames America. Let's just imagine what a mess they would make of their own country. They hate government so much? Well, let's see how much they hate it when the next natural or man made disaster hits them. We should remove every last one of them from Medicare and Medicaid and lets's see how they would function without "gummint" help.

Posted by: natalkstlmo | August 24, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious Sen. DeMint doesn't believe in free speech!

Posted by: asclepious2 | August 24, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Response to natalkstimo:

Don't paint all southerners with the same tarry brush. You only hear the stupid ones. I assure you there are those of us who think differently and we are ashamed of those people and wish they would shut their mouth.

You don't help things by saying that all Southerners should have to secede. Clean up your own thinking.

Posted by: bettyb2 | August 24, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Response to natalkstimo:

Don't paint all southerners with the same tarry brush. You only hear the stupid ones. I assure you there are those of us who think differently and we are ashamed of those people and wish they would shut their mouth.

You don't help things by saying that all Southerners should have to secede. Clean up your own thinking.

Posted by: bettyb2 | August 24, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Really, you must give the Republicans credit for taking care of their own. Jim Diment and Lisa Murkowski can hold quiet, peaceful and polite forums. But those Democratic forums end up as free-for-alls. I'll bet there wasn't one gun-toting Republican in the Diment or Murkowski town meetings. "Don't take your gun to town-hall meetings, Son, Don't take your gun to town."

Posted by: caesarganz | August 25, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are using the same tactics in the health care debate that led us into a useless war in Iraq, scare people and lie to them.

Posted by: djmaschek | August 22, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse
the only difference now is that they bring guns.

Still no brains, but guns.

I remember when they were a political party, but that was before they thought it was a great idea to get away from great ideas.

Posted by: dennissuper | August 25, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I get sick to death of hearing people say "we have the best health care in the world". Baloney!!

In the industrialized world, we rate 39th in longevity, the same in healthcare, we are 42nd in live births and on and on.

The health insurance companies should NOT be for profit. It's inhumane. They make billions of dollars a year in profit by not paying for healthcare. Rationing? We've already got it. As for "tort reform", the Republicans answer to everything to do with health has anybody ever tried to sue a doctor? It's almost impossible. Maybe we should have a committee making insurance companies justify the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year they charge doctors for malpractiace insurance.

The SF Chronicle just finished a 3 day story about healthcare. 100,000 people a year - minimum - die of preventable medical errors and another 100,000 - minimum - die of preventable hospital acquired infections. There may be thousands more as very few states require hospitals to report these incidents. The industry fights every regulation. Even such common sense things as not placing 2 medicines that look identical next to each other. Remember Dennis Quaid's twins who were given a dose of blood thinner 100 times stronger than they should have because the bottles were side by side?

I can hardly wait for a public option. Nobody should make money from denying care to little kids with cancer or their parents either.

Posted by: lorene1 | August 25, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

People are starting to understand who Barack Obama really is. He is a fantasy come true for the Far Left Liberal. The Obama administration got you to believe that someone with no experience and no track record could lead this country in a different direction that no one has ever had. He did. It is called socialism. Obama has also been blinded by his selfishness to get his agenda done, that he has forgotten the most important part of his job. That is to lead. He promised us that he would put Americans back to work. Well almost a year later and billions of dollars, unemployment that is now at double digits and rising he wants us to pay more taxes. Where are the taxes going to come from when people are not working? Obama needs to forget healthcare and get to work on putting Americans back to work. Cut taxes! No more big government, it has shown not to work.
Who is the real Obama? Find out at:

Posted by: mongo9584 | August 25, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

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