A brief video that hit the Web on Tuesday depicts a constituent chiding Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) as "hypocritical" for his remark that the Republicans' healthcare plan calls for Americans to "die quickly."
The undated clip picks up during the question-and-answer portion of the event. "I would like to know if [Rep. Grayson] is aware that it was Richard Lamm, Democratic Governor of Colorado in 1984, who said it's your duty to die if you get sick," states the questioner. "I think that's a hypocritical statement of yours to tar other people with something that the Democrats said."
But only a few attendants applause the man's remark.
Grayson, however, doesn't bite, and quickly dismisses the man. "You have mischaracterized what I said. You have mischaracterized what Gov. Lamm said. Our time is limited tonight, and I'm not going to debate politics, I'm going to debate healthcare, so we're going to go on to the next question."
The audience then erupts in a more supportive applause, and one member -- perhaps the questioner, though it is difficult to tell -- exits the room.
Interestingly enough, Grayson might be correct. According to a New York Times correction from March 1984, Lamm's line -- that the elderly and terminally ill "have got a duty to die and get out of the way" -- is itself a slight inaccuracy:
"In a letter dated Oct. 8, 1993, Mr. Lamm provided excerpts from the 1984 speech, in which he spoke philosophically about the terminally ill of any age, about the extraordinary costs of high-technology medicine and about the ability of medical science to stave off death far beyond considerations of quality of life.
In his letter last month, Mr. Lamm wrote that he never said "the elderly or the terminally ill have a duty to die," and he added, "I was essentially raising a general statement about the human condition, not beating up on the elderly."