Freshman Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) became the latest Republican to face the ire of his own constituents for voting for the Medicare-ending GOP budget when he was repeatedly challenged by attendees at a town hall meeting in Jonesboro, AR last night. At his first town hall since being seated, Crawford had attendees write their questions on index cards and then read them out loud, “but a handful of audience members weren’t satisfied and shouted at Crawford from their seats.”
While Republicans have insisted that their budget saves Medicare, Crawford veered off message at one point, responding to the question “why are you going to end Medicare as we know it?” by saying, “the answer to that is because Medicare as we know is bankrupt.”
Later, Crawford faced a heated question about why the GOP budget cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations while slashing social services. Crawford replied, “I don’t support tax cuts for the wealthy over help for socio-economically challenged individuals.” A number of his constituents repeatedly challenged him on this claim, accusing Crawford of “class warfare against the poor people” and explaining that tax cuts don’t create jobs. Crawford apparently did not appreciate this, and ended the session:
CONSTITUENT 1: [The GOP budget ] is a significant tax cut for the wealthy.
CRAWFORD: A 10 percent tax cut?
CONSTITUENT 2: Wouldn’t that be class warfare against the poor people?
CRAWFORD: Well, you’re asking me if I want to continue taxing at a higher rate the people that are creating jobs and no –
CONSTITUENT 2: They’re not creating jobs, though! They haven’t created any more jobs! … They’re taking them all overseas!
CONSTITUENT 3: Are you taking any more questions?
CRAWFORD: No, we’re done.
CONSTITUENT 3: We’re done?
CRAWFORD: We’re done.
CONSTITUENT 4: During the Bush administration, and the tax cuts, how many jobs were created?
CRAWFORD: I don’t have those numbers.
CONSTITUENT 4: Three million. During the Clinton administration, where he raised taxes on the highest bracket to 39.5, how many jobs were created? 22 million. You’re going to tell me that tax cuts create jobs?!
Watch a video shot by Arkansas progressive blog Blue Arkansas, and edited by ThinkProgress for length (full videos here):
Crawford walked away from the podium and left the meeting moments later.