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Sen. Barney Frank lashes out at protester over Nazi remark

The Massachusetts Democrat asks the woman carrying a picture depicting Obama with a Hitler-style mustache: 'On what planet do you spend most of your time?'

August 20, 2009|Associated Press

DARTMOUTH, MASS. — Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) lashed out at protester who held a poster depicting President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache during a heated town hall meeting on the healthcare overhaul.

"On what planet do you spend most of your time?" Frank asked the woman, who had stepped up to a microphone at a senior center to ask why Frank supported what she called a Nazi policy.

"As you stand there with a picture of the president defaced to look like Hitler and compare the effort to increase healthcare to the Nazis . . . it is a tribute to the 1st Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated," Frank said. "Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it."

Frank, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, sought to assure more than 500 people attending the rowdy meeting Tuesday that the average taxpayer wouldn't be hurt by plans under consideration in Congress.

Some of those attending the meeting organized by the Democratic Town Committee of Dartmouth shouted and booed as Frank and others addressed the crowd.

At one point, Frank asked: "Which one of you wants to yell next?"

Several people wanted to know how the government would pay for the reforms without worsening a growing federal deficit.

Audrey Steele, 82, from New Bedford, Mass., said she did not want the government to get involved with healthcare. "They just make a mess of everything."

Others were more supportive of change.

Sheila Leavitt of Newton, Mass., who said she gave up practicing as a physician in 1983, hoped for changes that would support primary-care doctors who weren't paid as much as specialists.

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