By Jordan Fabian - 08/08/09 04:21 PM EDT
The battle over healthcare in town-hall settings continued with one congressman lashing out at a constituent, one senator's town hall being canceled, and one member questioning the president's birth certificate.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) took to Twitter late Friday to register her disappointment at a St. Louis school district’s decision to cancel a healthcare “listening session” she scheduled at a high school there.
McCaskill has been a strong backer of the healthcare town halls, which some other Democrats have viewed with a skeptical eye because of hostile protests that have occurred at some of the meetings.
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), at a town hall meeting about a highway project in his district on Friday, accused audience members who asked about healthcare reform during a question-and-answer session of being outsiders who "hijacked" his meeting.
"I'm listening to my constituents. These are people who live in the 13th congressional district, who vote in this district," he said. "That's who I've got to respond to."
In fact, Scott directed his remark at Dr. Brian Hill, who is a resident of the 13th district. Hill asked why Scott is "voting for a healthcare plan that is shown not to work in Massachusetts."
"Those of you here who have taken, and came, and hijacked this event that we're dealing with here," Scott said. "This is not a healthcare event. You made the choice to come here!"
Scott's outburst came during the meeting's question and answer session in which constituents were allowed to ask questions on any topic. A local NBC affiliate in Atlanta captured video of the meeting. Hill later stressed to the network that he's not even a Republican.
At one point, Scott stood up and pointed, shouting, "You want a meeting with me on healthcare? I'll give it to you!"
New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel said Saturday that he is open to criticism at his healthcare town-hall meetings, but he would prefer if he heard civil arguments from constituents in his district.
"What I care about is the attempt to shout people down and to disrupt the meetings," Engel said on Fox News Saturday morning.
"I think you do have people who are going district-to-district who attempt to just shout people down and make it impossible to have a meeting," he added.
On the other side of the aisle, Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) questioned the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate and referred to a White House "enemies list" at a meeting in Tulsa.
"This is a scary time in Washington," he said. "It's a very frightening time. I see Barack Obama is creating an enemies list of people who oppose this miserable healthcare plan. I think that's frightening. That's from a guy that can't even show a long-form birth certificate. I think we all ought to be prepared to fight that."
One audience member at the Tulsa Republican Club didn't think that was enough, berating Sullivan for not doing enough to uncover Obama's citizenship, the Tulsa World reported.
The man was shouted down by other audience members after about one minute.