Florida Republican shouted down at town hall over Ryan plan

A town-hall meeting hosted by freshman Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) descended into chaos Tuesday as the Republican was shouted down while explaining his support for Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget plan.    

The Orlando Sentinel has details on the raucous meeting that ended up with police officers flanking Webster and attempting to calm the crowd:

Webster tried to go over a series of charts showing growing levels of federal spending and debt, and the reason he supports the federal budget plan put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. But he was interrupted at every turn by shouts from his critics, including members of progressive groups such as Moveon.org and Organize Now.

Boos and shouts of "liar" were mixed with angry accusations that Ryan's plan to change Medicare would leave those now under 55 without health insurance in their retirement, calls to eliminate the tax cuts first put in place by former President Bush and the need to raise corporate taxes rather than cut entitlement programs.

Others in the crowd began yelling at Webster's critics to quiet down, at one point with the chant "Let him talk!" But the meeting frequently devolved into multiple arguments — some of them heated — between members of audience.

When one man who said he was a veteran yelled that he wanted to know why Webster was cutting Medicare and veterans' benefits, his answer came from the audience instead.

"We can't afford it, you moron!" a red-faced man screamed.

Two Orlando police officers moved to the front of the room and flanked Webster, and pleaded for decorum when the congressman could no longer be heard.

"It's not going to be solved by yelling and screaming and hollering," the officer said. "Let's conduct ourselves like grown people."

 

The Webster town hall is the latest event led by a GOP member during the recess to get heated over the Ryan plan to overhaul Medicare. Last week, Ryan was booed at a town-hall meeting in his home district a few days before one of Rep. Lou Barletta's (R-Pa.) town-hall events devolved into a shouting match over the issue.

Barletta's office pinned the blame on MoveOn.org, which it said was attempting to organize disruptions at town-hall events across the country.

Democrats see a 2012 opening in Ryan's proposed budget and have been relentlessly hitting Republican members for votes to "eliminate Medicare."

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