Table-Smacking Congressman And Dems Difficulty Selling Health Reform Law

Jul 12, 2010 12:47pm

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports:

It could be a post card from the Summer of 2009: A Texas
Democrat bristles when a constituent questions his honesty, ultimately smacking
a table at what appears to be a Mexican restaurant.

The 44 seconds of amateur video, anonymously posted on a conservative news website, captures a moment of
frustration for Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-Tex, when he is defending the new Health
Care Law before constituents. 

But it is the Summer of 2010 – nearly one year after contentious
town hall meetings gave voice to the tea party movement and nearly derailed the
health reform push, a signature issue of President Obama and Congressional
Democrats. The video highlights that for Democrats in tough districts –
Rodriguez defeated a sitting Republican in 2006 – even though the health reform
is now law, neither the debate nor the peril of town hall meetings have
entirely subsided.

Rodriguez cites a CBO report that says the cost of doing
nothing about health care would have been $12.1 trillion over the next 8 years
(we’re still trying to locate that exact report), when a constituent interrupts
him to say that the CBO has been updating its numbers and says Rodriguez should
tell the truth. It is not clear where Rodriguez gets the $12.1 trillion. Here
is everything the CBO Director has said on health reform lately: LINK: http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?cat=5. CBO
estimated that the law, if enacted as written over the next ten years, would
shave far less – $143 billion off the deficit.

Cost estimates Rodriguez does not like being interrupted or
challenged in the video.

“Don’t accuse me of not saying the truth,” he says,
approaching the woman who interrupted him. 
Doubting his word obviously angers the Texan and he ends up smacking the
table next to him with a rolled up stack of papers.

“If you want a dialog in a civil manner, but don’t say
that I’m not saying the truth,” he says.

Rodriguez’s caught-on-tape frustration is not as hands-on
confrontational as Rep. Bob Etheridge’s, D-NC, grabbing and head locking of a
still-anonymous college student in Washington, DC when the student asked Etheridge
if he supported President Obama’s agenda. 

Both pieces of video were posted anonymously on
BigGovernment.com, a conservative news website. We’ve reached out to both
Rodriguez for comment on the video and BigGovernment.com to determine where it
came from.

-Z. Byron Wolf

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