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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has accused attendees at health care town hall meetings of carrying swastikas – and the Democratic National Committee is now featuring photos of protesters with swastikas in its new video, claiming “angry mobs” are “seeking to destroy Obama.”
In a short clip posted by Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” a reporter asked Pelosi, “Do you think there’s legitimate grass roots opposition going on here?”
She responded, “I think they are Astroturf … you be the judge,” Pelosi answered. “They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care.”
Pelosi did not provide specific examples of unruly citizens carrying swastikas to town hall meetings.
However, the Washington Times suggested Pelosi may have been referring to this photo taken outside the Fort Collins office of Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colo, last week:
Protester carries sign featuring swastika with a line through it
A woman protesting President Obama’s health care “reform” carried a sign featuring a swastika that was circled with red line through it, suggesting her opposition to Nazi-style policies. It also featured a question mark with Obama’s name underneath it.
The photo, provided by a reader who is a Democrat, was first featured in a column at the Huffington Post.
Pelosi’s office did not respond to requests for comment, but the Washington Post reported one spokesman from her office told the newspaper, “In addition, at another town hall held in Worcester, Massachusetts, Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern, the Telegram reports, ‘was likened by an attendee to Josef Mengele, the Nazi officer who performed experiments on concentration camp survivors.'”
Another protest took place outside a Randalls supermarket in Austin where Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, was hosting an Aug. 1 town hall meeting for health care “reform.”
The Austin American-Statesman reported, “Witnesses say that when Doggett was asked if he would support the plan even if he found his constituents opposed it, Doggett said he would still support the plan.”
Citizens began chanting “just say no” as they carried signs protesting “socialized medicine.” A video of the incident can be seen below:
“The folks there thought their voices weren’t being heard,” said Kathy Acosta, a local resident who attended the Randalls meeting told the Austin American-Statesman. “They were angry, but they were respectful. There wasn’t any violence.”
One protester held a sign that appeared to say, “Stop Socialism” with a Nazi-style SS insignia.
Protester carries sign that appears to read “Stop Socialism” with Nazi-style SS
A woman in the photo’s foreground carried a poster of Doggett’s official photo sporting a pair of red horns.
The photo has been posted on many blogs and in the mainstream media, and many Democrats have referred to groups of protesting citizens as angry “mobs.”
Doggett released the following statement to the Austin American-Statesman about the event:
This mob, sent by the local Republican and Libertarian parties, did not come just to be heard, but to deny others the right to be heard. And this appears to be part of a coordinated, nationwide effort. What could be more appropriate for the “party of no” than having its stalwarts drowning out the voices of their neighbors by screaming “just say no!” Their fanatical insistence on repealing Social Security and Medicare is not just about halting health care reform but rolling back 75 years of progress. I am more committed than ever to win approval of legislation to offer more individual choice to access affordable health care. An effective public plan is essential to achieve that goal.
A Daily Kos thread dated Aug. 3 included the following comments:
I actually think this will backfire
Most Americans don’t necessarily want to ally themselves with crazy people screaming and chasing down representatives of Congress. There’s already reports that some people in the crowds are wearing things like Nazi swastikas. If Obama and the Democrats are able to portray these people as their opponents, it may end up hurting the Republicans by association.
by kyeo on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 01:48:02 PM PDT
Some kid (a teenager) showed up with a swastika at the healthcare reform rally in Austin 2 weeks ago. A former Obama staffer who’s Jewish gave him a good talking-to about why it’s offensive that left the kid in tears. Shame on the so-called adults on that side that let him think it was a good idea to display it. (Then again, these are people whose idea of a protest sign is “My tonsils, my choice” – an actual sign.)
Asian Pacific Americans for Progress
by lirtydies on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 01:50:57 PM PDT
The Democratic National Committee featured the swastika photos in the following video, accusing “desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies” of organizing “angry mobs” that seek to “destroy President Obama and stop the change Americans voted for overwhelmingly in November”:
It features several photos of protesters and states, “This mob activity is straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives.”
DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse referred to the photos in a statement to Talking Points Memo reporter Brian Beutler: “The right wing extremists’ use of things like devil horns on pictures of our elected officials, hanging members of Congress in effigy, breathlessly questioning the President’s citizenship and the use of Nazi SS symbols and the like just shows how outside of the mainstream the Republican Party and their allies are.”
The Washington Post posted a large photo of Pelosi’s own constituents comparing President George W. Bush to Hitler. They used swastikas in place of the “s” in his name and drew a Hitler-style mustache on the president’s photo.