Like many members of Congress have doned this summer, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann held a town hall meeting for her constituents today, allowing them to voice their opinion about the very controversial proposed health care reform bill. Bachmann, who is against the bill, was joined by Texas Congressman Michael Burgess, who is a doctor and chair of the Congressional Health Care Caucus.
Hundreds of people packed the Lake Elmo, Minnesota middle school where the town hall took place, with overflow seating and video feed being provided for those who couldn't get into the auditorium. Most audience members applauded and cheered on the Congresswoman from the time she entered the room and told her they supported her decision to vote against the bill. One speaker, who had recently undergone knee surgery, told Bachman, "You're my hero - I like the fight you have."
The loudest cheers came when Bachmann spoke of British citizens giving birth in the hallways of hospitals, due to overcrowding. When a man interrupted, Bachman quickly retorted, "I'll tell you what, I've given birth here probably more times than you, sir. I've given birth in the Stillwater hospital and I'll tell you it is the finest care you could ever receive."
While most attendees applauded Bachmann's criticism of the bill, there were several who were there to speak out against her and other Conservatives. Dr. Ilya Gorodisher asked the Congresswoman, "Why do you persist on destroying the president's plan. Why do you persist on stretching the truth to the point of lies?" Others shouted the words "lies" and "shut up" over Bachmann's remarks.
Media who attended the event described it as "lively" and "feisty" and said many speakers' words were drowned out due to applause and boos. Some audience members even left early, stating that they were tired of the yelling and screaming. Hostility amongst attendees on both sides of the fight has been a fairly common theme at many similar town hall meetings throughout the summer.
Bachmann referred to the American health care system as the "greatest health care system the world has ever known" and insisted the new health care bill would destroy it. Last week, she appeared on Fox News' "Hannity" to discuss this very issue. There, she stated that the bill was unconstitutional and asserted that many members of Congress were not listening to their constituents. She encouraged the American people to stand up against the bill and not to be fooled when leaders referred to the "public option" by another name.
You can watch video of Bachmann's appearance on "Hannity" here: