Specter says town halls have affected his healthcare stance

Town hall meetings are important to heed and have had an effect on Sen. Arlen Specter's (D-Pa.) healthcare stance, the veteran senator said Tuesday.

"It has had an impact on me," he said during an interview on Fox News.

"I think the people who were boisterous and wouldn't allow other people to be heard -- that's unusual at town hall meetings," Specter added. "But beneath that, beyond any question, there's tremendous anger."

Specter's town hall meeting earlier this month raised eyebrows after the nationally-televised event showed a loud confrontation between Specter and some constituents over healthcare.

The Pennsylvania senator, who switched parties to pursue reelection as a Democrat, said that his constituents' anger extends beyond healthcare.

"It goes beyond healthcare -- it's a matter of the deficit and the national debt, and that's why I pledged to vote for a healthcare insurance reform bill which raises the deficit," he said. "And I think we have to be concerned about the expansion of government, and be sensitive to what people are thinking about."

"I certainly would not criticize them; I am going to listen to them," he added. "No matter how vituperative they are, they are citizens."