09/16/2010 05:55 pm ET Updated 4 days ago

Barney Frank On His Reelection Race: The Tea Parties Are Trying To 'Make An Example Of Me' For Fighting Back

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is facing a challenge this November from Republican Sean Bielat, who has attracted the attention and support of national conservatives who want to bring down the fiery long-time progressive incumbent.

In an interview with the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim on Thursday, Frank said that they're going after him particularly hard because he's had the nerve to fight back:

FRANK: Look, the right wing has been attacking me for a long time, and I think they're particularly upset because last summer, when everybody was dealing with these town meetings, I fought back. ... I think Tea Parties say I'm their worst one. I think they'd like to make an example of me, that if you fight back, you get punished. So I'm working hard.

Frank's most famous town hall confrontation took place on Aug. 18, 2009, with 500 attendees loudly arguing back and forth about health care reform. At one point, Frank asked the crowd, "Which one of you wants to yell next?" When one attendee, Rachel Brown, held up a picture of President Obama defaced to look like Hitler and asked Frank why he's supporting the "Nazi policy" of health care reform, Frank excoriated her, stating, "Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table."


Brown eventually ran (and lost) against Frank in the district's Democratic primary. Frank's "abrasive" style is one reason that Bielat has said he's challenging the Congressman. "In the town hall meetings, he craps all over his constituents," Bielat told the Huffington Post in February. "He's just rude."


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