FreedomWorks VP Refuses To Try To ‘Calm Down’ Angry Protesters At Health Care Town Hall Meetings (Updated)

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"FreedomWorks VP Refuses To Try To ‘Calm Down’ Angry Protesters At Health Care Town Hall Meetings (Updated)"

FreedomWorks, an industry-backed right-wing group led by former GOP congressman Dick Armey, has been heavily engaged in organizing conservatives to ambush Democratic members of Congress supporting health care reform at town halls across the country during the August recess. Its “astroturf” campaign is designed to present the appearance of wide-spread public discontent with health care reform, but the reality is that the town halls have become forums for disruption, extremism and even violence.

Last night on MSNBC, FreedomWorks Vice President Max Pappas boasted about flooding congresspeople’s town hall meetings and “blowing them apart.” “We have about 400,000 on-line members who we can contact with an e-mail database that we have, send them information about when the town halls are, give them briefings on the health care reform plans,” he said.

Pappas was on C-SPAN this morning, and a Republican veteran called in and asked Pappas to “to tell these people to wrap it down.” “We Republicans already have the image of being owned by corporate America. Now we’re getting the image of being owned by wild red-neck America,” the caller complained. But Pappas refused his request, claiming he doesn’t “have the power” to calm down his troops:

PAPPAS: We don’t have the power to control how many people turn out or how they behave there. All we really do is facilitate their participation by letting people know when these town halls are and giving them information about the issues that are going to be discussed The passions are so deep about this issue that we can’t send out an email that says “calm down.”

Another caller who claimed to be from the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) — a group that claims the U.S. is a European country and was founded by a “longtime white-power activist” — praised Pappas. “I want to salute you, you’re a true patriot,” he told Pappas, who later urged the CCC member to join FreedomWorks. “[I]f the caller wants to join FreedomWorks, it’s free. You can sign up on our website and we’ll keep you up to dated on what’s going on on Capitol Hill,” he said. Watch it:

Transcript:

CALLER: Hey Max I want to salute you, you’re a true patriot. I belong to a small group out here [in Indiana] called Council of Conservative Citizens and once you get out of the major cities and you get out into the Midwest you realize that the average American just wants to go to work, work hard, be patirotic, pay his bills and hope that the government stays out of his way. What’s happened over the last six, eight months isn’t just a progression of the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama is way passed Democrat/Republican, it’s a socialist view that the government can take care of everybody. […]

PAPPAS: And if that, if the caller wants to join FreedomWorks, it’s free. You can sign up on our website and we’ll keep you up to dated on what’s going on on Capitol Hill. […]

CALLER: As a true Republican, — or, you say you got the power to get these people out through emails. I call on you and challenge you to send an email today to tell these people to wrap it down. We Republicans already have the image of being owned by corporate America. Now we’re getting the image of being owned by wild red-neck America.

You look at these crowds, I’m looking at one of them right now, evidently most of these people are on Medicare at the same time, you see no minorities there, you see no blacks there, no hispanics there. That’s the groups we gotta get back in our Party.

It’s just like, I tell friends of mine, I’m a 100% disabled veteran, 73 years old on the VA, which y’all identify as socialistic, it’s a socialistic system. Most of my friends are on Medicare which according to you and your group is a socialistic system.

I tell my friends, or tell people, strangers I meet some of the things I know about our Party they say, “Where’d you hear that?” I say “Oh Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh.” They laugh at me, they laugh at me. Everybody thinks that these Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannities and all these radio talk show people who hold all this power, they’re the joke of the average American. They’re nothing but jokes. This new guy, what’s his name, I can’t even remember his name he’s over there on Fox News, he comes on at 5 o’clock, he’s a mad man!

PAPPAS: We don’t have the power to control how many people turn out or how they behave there. All we really do is facilitate their participation by letting people know when these town halls are and giving them information about the issues that are going to be discussed The passions are so deep about this issue that we can’t send out an email that says “calm down.”

Update
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It is unclear whether Pappas knew the Council of Conservative Citizens’
values when suggesting that the caller, purporting to be a member of the group, join FreedomWorks.

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