Steele: Health protests not 'Republican cabal'

The Obama administration is arrogant to look down at protesters at town hall events across the country who've voiced pointed — and sometimes boisterous — complaints about healthcare reform, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele said Wednesday.

Steele defended the questions about the administration's healthcare priorities raised at meetings with lawmakers at district events in recent days, denying that the Republicans organized the protests.

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"This administration has the arrogance to look down their nose" at the protesters, Steele said in a conference call to denote President Barack Obama's first 200 days in office this week.

"To sit back and say this is some sort of Republican cabal is some baloney," Steele said. "And you can substitute that 'B' with something else if you want."

The Obama administration has taken aim directly at the protesters, some of whom have loudly interrupted Democratic lawmakers' town hall meetings with constituents, as "manufactured" by conservative groups and business interests.

"That's not something that's deliberately coordinated and set in motion by me or any one state party," Steele said Wednesday.

"We're not encouraging people to be angry to the point of being mean, or nasty, or brutish," the RNC chairman added. "There is legitimacy to the protest. How people protest — I have no control over that."

Steele seemed to encourage Americans to attend the town hall meetings and voice opinions to lawmakers.

"They should express it directly to the elected officials who don't even have the wherewithal to even read the entire legislation," Steele said.