Videos from Vern Buchanan’s health care town hall/Obama bashing in Bradenton

Aug. 21, 2009

I got a little backstage pass to Rep. Vern Buchanan’s August 20″town hall meeting” in Bradenton, which was supposed to involve some sort of a discussion or debate on health care reform. It turned out to be less of a question and answer session and more of a comment and opinion forum. The crowd was a sea of white skin, white hair and red faces, all in a huff and a puff about “ObamaCare.”So many people showed up that they filled the Braden River High School cafeteria with over 700 attendees (pictured at right) who watched the action from the auditorium on a pull-down screen, clapping or booing according to their views. Buchanan responded to some intense applause and some heated encouragement as the microphone was handed to fan after fan. I counted three questioners in support of health care reform over the course of the two-hour event. Nearly every other person who was chosen spent their time ranting about the government takeover of the health care system and how Obama was plotting to kill their grandma. This left Buchanan having to answer few questions and basically cheerleading the crowd. No matter how outrageous the claim, he never corrected it, at least not with any emphasis. Buchanan’s beloved 13th district has the highest percentage of people over 62 in the country, and it was clear every one of them thinks Obama is trying to pull the plug on them. Click through the break to see the vids:

This first video starts out with Leon Harris, head of the Manatee-Sarasota Democratic Black Caucus, who was the only black person chosen to speak. He asks why Buchanan doesn’t support Obama’s four main reform criteria, even though most conservatives’ concerns, such as funding for abortions, reducing seniors’ benefits and the high costs of reform, have been debunked. One lady yells at him to “shut up” twice as he asks his question, and as he finishes the crowd boos in unison. Buchanan answers by saying, “we do need to have major health care reform, but i don’t think we need to go to a single payer system,” which is not one of Obama’s four criteria, and definitely not the same as a public health insurance option. He continues with a string of Republican talking points, then later says “this isn’t about Democrat and Republican, it’s about doing what’s right for America.” Check it out:

In the second video, Buchanan tells his majority elderly crowd that 50 percent of all health care comes in the last six months of one’s life, and then says “the way most of these programs, as I understand, in industrialized nations work is they ration what they’re going to do and not do for the senior citizens in their country. I’m against that.” The crowd erupts in applause. The next speaker reads lines from a “bill” that state “the govenrment will have direct access to our bank accounts” and access to “all America’s finances and personal records.” He doesn’t mention which proposed bill this comes from and Buchanan doesn’t even attempt to question the legitimacy of those claims. After a self-described “legal immigrant” talks about his journey to America in search of freedom, Buchanan mentions, to roaring applause, how he was the original cosponsor for making English the official language. The video ends with a woman afraid for her life that after the reforms she will be “discarded.” Buchanan, who has already received $66,150 from health professionals and $24,750 from insurance companies for his 2010 reelection campaign, responds by saying, “Not with me, you’re not.” Check it out:


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