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Healthcare town hall descends into chaos

Aug. 26, 2009 at 7:25 AM   |   Comments

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RESTON, Va., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Catcalls, skits decrying proposed healthcare reform and general chaos marked a town hall meeting held by U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.

Foes of U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare plan delivered their promised disruption at Tuesday's event in a high school gym in Reston, Va., a Washington suburb, CNN reported Wednesday.

Moran spent most of the two-hour event dispelling misinformation about the healthcare proposals being floated in Congress, answering some questions several times. Efforts to minimize disruptions, however, weren't too successful as opponents asked different questions than they submitted, apparently lied about their identity -- even booed a rabbi as he delivered the opening prayer, CNN reported. Foes also tried to shout down former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean.

The most vocal protester on hand was Randall Terry, former leader of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, who presented two skits critical of the president's plan outside the meeting.

In one skit, Terry wore a surgeon's clothing and stabbed a baby doll repeatedly with a rubber knife as he stood beside an actor dressed as an elderly woman. In another, a man wearing an Obama mask beat two people -- one posing as an older man in a walker and another dragging a baby doll on a chain.

Terry said the performances were designed to be jarring -- just as the steady stream of catcalls he and his supporters led inside.

"We're trying to use jolting images to shock people into reality," he told CNN. "What (Obama) represents is far more horrific than playing around with a plastic knife and baby doll."

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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