In an email sent Wednesday morning, the Democratic National Committee labels recent town hall disruptions as "a sham," describing them as an orchestrated effort by the health care industry to "break the President and his agenda for change."
Jen O'Malley Dillon, Executive Director of the DNC, says the protests "are being organized and largely paid for by Washington special interests and insurance companies who are desperate to block reform." She accuses them of using "lies" and "fear" to sustain the status quo.
"Health insurance reform is about our lives, our jobs, and our families -- we can't let distortions and intimidation get in the way," writes O'Malley, before offering five facts about the protests:
1. These disruptions are being funded and organized by out-of-district special-interest groups and insurance companies who fear that health insurance reform could help Americans, but hurt their bottom line. A group run by the same folks who made the "Swiftboat" ads against John Kerry is compiling a list of congressional events in August to disrupt. An insurance company coalition has stationed employees in 30 states to track where local lawmakers hold town-hall meetings.
2. People are scared because they are being fed frightening lies. These crowds are being riled up by anti-reform lies being spread by industry front groups that invent smears to tarnish the President's plan and scare voters. But as the President has repeatedly said, health insurance reform will create more health care choices for the American people, not reduce them. If you like your insurance or your doctor, you can keep them, and there is no "government takeover" in any part of any plan supported by the President or Congress.
3. Their actions are getting more extreme. Texas protesters brought signs displaying a tombstone for Rep. Lloyd Doggett and using the "SS" symbol to compare President Obama's policies to Nazism. Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil was hanged in effigy outside his district office. Rep. Tim Bishop of New York had to be escorted to his car by police after an angry few disrupted his town hall meeting -- and more examples like this come in every day. And they have gone beyond just trying to derail the President's health insurance reform plans, they are trying to "break" the President himself and ruin his Presidency.
4. Their goal is to disrupt and shut down legitimate conversation. Protesters have routinely shouted down representatives trying to engage in constructive dialogue with voters, and done everything they can to intimidate and silence regular people who just want more information. One attack group has even published a manual instructing protesters to "stand up and shout" and try to "rattle" lawmakers to prevent them from talking peacefully with their constituents.
5. Republican leadership is irresponsibly cheering on the thuggish crowds. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner issued a statement applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to "a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress."
"It's time to expose this charade, before it gets more dangerous," the email concludes. "Now, more than ever, we need to stand strong together and defend the truth."
The email is part of a larger effort by the DNC to combat angry disruptions in recent town hall meetings hosted by Democratic lawmakers. It was sent just hours after the DNC released a new television ad attacking the GOP and blaming them for "organizing angry mobs" in an effort to undermine President Obama and Democrats.
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