BETH REINHARD AND LESLEY CLARK
Thursday, August 6, 2009
A raucous group of about 100 protesters confronted staffers of U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, expressing their displeasure with the healthcare overhaul bills being considered in Congress.
Confrontation over a national healthcare overhaul reached South Florida on Wednesday, when routine office hours for the staff of a Broward-area congressman turned into a raucous protest.
The incident is like others that reflect nerves frayed by the nationwide debate. Democrats decry what they describe as a mob rule orchestrated by special interests trying to protect the status quo; Republicans call it genuine grass-roots concern over a costly government takeover.
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Though only a handful of constituents typically show up at the Lighthouse Point public library once a month with questions for U.S. Rep. Ron Klein’s staffers — often questions about Social Security checks or passport applications — this time about 100 people packed the room for two hours.
The group was rowdy, rude and fired up about healthcare.
“Where the hell is Klein?” demanded Republican activist Ana Gomez-Mallada, even though the congressman was not scheduled to be there. Others branded him a “coward” and a “communist.”
From Texas to Pennsylvania, protesters have disrupted town halls. In North Florida, an effigy of a congressman, Allen Boyd, was tarred and feathered; in New York, a congressman had to be escorted to his car by police.
This article was posted: Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 11:54 am