Health protesters plan Saturday rallies outside offices

Many of the organizers of the anti-tax Tea Party protests are collaborating Saturday for a Nationwide Recess Rally to protest "socialized, government-controlled healthcare" outside members' district offices.

Backed by right-of-center bloggers and conservative groups, the effort calls for demonstrations at noon in each time zone at more than 1,000 congressional offices across the country.

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"These events will represent a strong statement that we’ve been pushed to the edge and simply cannot be pushed any further," the nationwide organizers state on the Recess Rally website. "It is at this time that we will also hand deliver a coalition letter to every single congressional office in the country."

Protests are planned outside offices of both Democrats and Republicans, ranging from House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who famously answered a town hall protester's comment Tuesday about "Nazi policy" with "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"

Jim Hoft, who blogs at Gateway Pundit and has been covering many of the protest events in the St. Louis area, told The Hill that the demonstrations are being planned by activists on the local level.

Hoft, who will be outside Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's (Mo.) office for the rally on Saturday, said he believes the protest efforts at town halls throughout recess have been making a difference.

"That's why we want to keep the momentum going," Hoft said. "This isn't about politics — some people say it would be a big defeat for Obama and the Democrats, but that isn't what's important to us in St. Louis.

"We want to defeat this legislation because we believe it's bad for America," Hoft said.

Hoft said more than 2,000 protesters are expected at the Missouri locations. Word about the events has spread through blogs, talk radio and some local news outlets.

Hoft brushed aside the characterization of the demonstrations as a right-wing event. "We're seeing in the polls most of America is against this piece of legislation today," he said. "The people out there who are passionate would include the right."

"If you look at many, if not most, of the state pages on the website - there are no rallies listed so it's hard to comment on something that doesn't appear in many places to be happening," Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine told The Hill. "Of course - this would match the trend we've seen over the last two weeks where the supporters of reform are outnumbering the protesters at town halls across the country. The opposition made a splash at a handful of town halls in the first few days of the recess, but after its tactics -- including hanging members in effigy and the use of Nazi symbolism -- backfired we've seen the opposition recede and supporters of health insurance reform emerge."

The Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee has been showing up at town halls to protest President Barack Obama's "Nazi health-care reform" and displays a picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache on its website, a picture seen on LaRouche demonstrators' signs as well.

Politicians on the left have been planning demonstrations in support of healthcare.

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) plans to introduce a resolution calling for a national rally and march for healthcare on the grounds of the Capitol on Sept. 13.

The congressman said former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich had suggested such a march to coincide with National Grandparents Day.

“The confusion, misinformation and scare tactics about a ‘public option’ trumpeted by the opponents of real healthcare reform have dominated the national debate long enough,” Fattah said in a release issued Thursday. “It is way past time for the vast majority favoring healthcare reform with the public option to show up and speak up at the Capitol’s doorstep and make their views known to their elected representatives.

“... It’s time for a healthy conversation about healthcare," Fattah added.

Hoft said he has heard firsthand arguments that the loud recess town halls have discouraged healthy debate over the contentious reform issue.

"Well, they certainly didn't say that two years ago when George Bush was in office," Hoft said.

This article was updated at 8:20 p.m.