Barletta’s Office Says Town Hall Disruption Part of Coordinated Effort

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

The office of Rep. Lou Barletta was critical today about a Democratic activist who challenged the Congressman at a town hall last night in Carbon County. Barletta spokesman Shawn Kelly said Linda Christman deliberately set a raucous tone as part of a coordinated effort by Democrats to disrupt the event.

Colby Itkowitz of the Allentown Morning Call detailed the town hall drama, during which one woman, Linda Christman, charged Barletta with a vote to change the Medicare system. During the ensuing exchange, several members of the crowd began to yell and one was even escorted out by police.

“Democrats are targeting Representative Barletta during his Home to House forums, and they’re doing it in a very coordinated way. We’ve seen evidence of coordinated attacks by Democratic operatives during our forums,” said Kelly.

“The woman in question interrupted Representative Barletta during his presentation and, for a time, she would not let him respond to her accusations. Constituents repeatedly asked her to let Representative Barletta answer. The fact is that she is a Democratic operative posing as an ordinary constituent with a concern, and she was following the playbook of trying to disrupt the forum, mislead the public, and scare senior citizens.”

Christman is president of the Carbon County Democrats for Change, a progressive organization derived from supporters of Howard Dean in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008.

“We are a part of the local Democratic Party and are also aligned with Organizing for America,” reads the “About Us” section of the group’s website (which was written by Christman).

Linda Christman, Carbon County Democrats for Change

Christman dismissed the suggestion that she was part of an organized effort.

“I’ve been politically active in this community for a long time and I had heard that Rep. Barletta had voted for the Ryan budget. As far as being part of a larger group, there was only one other person there that I knew.”

She said the group Moveon.org had emailed her and encouraged her to attend.

“I got an email from Moveon.org, saying they were trying to get people to go. I don’t think they were very successful. There were only one or two people there who raised objections.”

Moveon.org did send an email to local activists encouraging them to attend the town hall. However, the email contained no mention of disruption. This was the call to action:

“Late last week, Representative Lou Barletta voted in favor of gutting Medicare and Medicaid. Join us on Wednesday, April 20 to ask the congressman why he voted for a budget that that puts millions of seniors, children, and people with disabilities at risk of losing their health care, so we can give millionaires trillions in tax cuts.”

“Meet at AMVETS Post 83 15 minutes before the event so you can get seating. If you can, bring a sign asking Barletta to keep his hands off Medicare and Medicaid.”

She also disputed the suggestion that she had disrupted the event.

“I had no intention of disrupting the town hall, and I don’t think I did. I think the people that yelled at me were disruptive.”

Democrats from Washington to Harrisburg Washington dismissed the idea that the efforts were coordinated.

“Four out of five people oppose the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it,” said PA Democratic Party spokesman Mark Nicastre. “If Lou Barletta traveled anywhere outside of his house, there’d be a pretty good chance he’d run into people who are upset with his vote.”

Other Republicans have faced unfriendly audiences in the days since the House passed its budget. GOP budget architect Paul Ryan was booed at a Wisconsin town hall. Meanwhile Time Magazine detailed the Medicare troubles of Rep. Charlie Bass, a North Carolina Republican who narrowly won a swing district last year and was confronted at a recent town hall.

The controversy surrounds the budget which passed the U.S. House last week mostly on partisan lines. Democrats have cast the measure as a vote to end Medicare, while Republicans say the program is unsustainable and must be reformed in order to survive.

April 21st, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories | 23 Comments

23 thoughts on “Barletta’s Office Says Town Hall Disruption Part of Coordinated Effort”

  1. David Perez says:

    Lou Barletta is a disgrace. He is lying when he says that Medicare cannot be saved. The government needs to stop adding wealth to those that have obscene amounts of wealth already. We can also stop engaging in all the Middle East conflicts and get serious about developing alternative energy and transportation.

  2. Attelrab says:

    How come Barletta never mentioned his plans to eliminate Medicare and replace it with a system where seniors are left to themselves to find private insurance? Republicans are stealth candidates. They scare people with God, guns, gays and fake Kenyan birth certificates to get elected. Then they show their real agenda.

  3. jim heiden says:

    o just horrible !

    barletta comes across as a slick snake oil salesman .
    there he was saying that us corps paid
    35% taxes , yes in theory
    IN EFFECT OFTEN NOTHING
    IN WARTIME !!!

    he had the temerity to even stress that
    medicare part d
    paying for itself
    that that drug benefit to big parma
    adds to the deficit ,,,,

    RIGHT OUT OF ATLAS SHRUGGED

  4. Ron Howard says:

    The people will speak in 2012– Then he will be known as 1 Term Lou

  5. RK says:

    Concerned people ask questions to get answers. Thugs scream and shout because they don’t want the answers that they know are right. Keep up the good work Cong. Barletta. Fight the fight of the people who truly love this country-not their own shortcomings.

  6. Ron Howard says:

    Ray

    Well spoken and the truth.
    You have to be ignorant–not to see how Repubs are destroying our great country.

  7. Ray Hennemann says:

    Ms Manjodad must suffer from short term memory loss. Remember it was President Clinton who balanced the for three years of his two terms. And he even left a budget surplus and 4% unemployment.

    President George Bush left us with an unfunded two wars, more deficits (remember it was VP Dick Cheney who said deficits do not matter); the beginning of the great recession in 2008; an unemployment rate approaching 10%; and the bailout of wall street.

    Obama has saved the economy–it is beginning to turn around.

    Remember, until Ronald Reagan the US was a creditor nation. With Reagan’s Presidency America became a debtor nation. And now we owe our souls to Red China and Democratic India. Thank you Republicans.

    These happen to be facts

  8. manjodad says:

    By the way, Rep. Barletta didn’t run on a platform of doing away with Medicare and he is not doing it. Obama didn’t run on a platform of destroying the contry’s economy but he is doing that.

  9. manjodad says:

    I just love to see Democrats start throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the Republicans. It only tells me more and more that we are winning and like the Titanic victims clinging to the lifeboats they know it is only a matter of time before they sink.

  10. Ray Hennemann says:

    Ms. Christman was constitutionally and patriotically correct in asking Rep. Barletta why didn’t he run on the platform of doing away with Medicare.
    It is an unethically and morally indefensible action on his part to omit this from his campaign platform.
    When Republicans talk of “death panels” this is what they mean. Get the elderly off Medicare and into a privatised medical programs. Some people might call this genocide of the elderly or euthanasia of the elderly but it is the Republican way.
    The elderly, widows and orphans should challenge Barletta and his Tea Party cronies.

  11. David Robinson says:

    Looking at the video of the meeting, it is very clear to see that Ms. Christman was civil and NOT disruptive. The only disruption I hear are those comments from the republicans to “Shut up!” and “Sit down!”.
    What is wrong with you people that you fail to remember what our forefathers based our freedom on. FREE SPEECH!
    The moment anyone else opened their mouth, that right was stifled.
    And good for you Will Landstrom, for doing what was fair and standing up for a constituent.

  12. Shazam says:

    By the way Tea Baggers,

    This incident is getting MUCH attention on the internet, and guess what? People don’t like baggers disrespecting women. Looks bad, real bad. I don’t recall Pa men being so rude and disrespectful of women.

  13. Shazam says:

    Praise to the people still BRAVE enough to speak their mind.

    Linda Christman- you rock.

    Will Landstrom – Thank you for standing up for American values and American women.

  14. Brian Billig says:

    As a former registered democrat and now a registered independent, I wish to offer my view on a few areas that seem to iratate both parties. 1st, I’m a senior citizen and I disagree with th democratic attitude toward medicare, social security and anything else dealing with seniors. I now pay tax on an increased part of my social security and my contribution to medicare also is increasing. My question to republicans and democrats is when are you going to repay social security monies to the fund or is it just written off as another tax? My disillusionment with both parties comes from the childish behavior that prvents both sides from coming together. My leaning is toward the republicans because of their fiscal ideals,with the caveat that all must bear the load , poor and rich alike. So far Representative Barletta has again earned my vote.

  15. Will Landstrom says:

    Hi. My name is Will Landstrom. I am the guy in the video (the “Hawaiian” shirt guy). I can’t speak for anyone else but I can certainly assure you that I was not part of any evil conspiracy. And in fact I would more than happy to take a lie detector test attesting to that fact. I never met the woman who spoke before me nor anyone else at that meeting. What happened is very simple..Barletta and the Republicans are threatening to dismantle medicare and medicaid and ALL of our essential safety net programs and the overwhelming majority of people in this country are opposed that…vehemently opposed. It’s that simple…nothing more and nothing less. And Barletta’s right wing supporters at the Wednesday meeting were incredibly rude as they shouted down the woman who simply was doing what Barletta recommended which was for people to “get things off their chest”. Barletta is showing a somewhat disturbing sense of paranoia in his conspiracy theory. It’s ridiculous and laughable and utterly untrue.

  16. Another who was there says:

    As someone else who was there, I think some of these commenters are more than a little paranoid about some concerted conspiracy to disrupt the meeting. Ms. Christman had specifically said she wanted to get something off her chest and was trying to engage her congressman in a discussion. She was respectful, but assertive. Many of the people in the crowd were extremely rude and disrespectful of her right to talk to her Congressman, shouting “sit the hell down” and “shut up” repeatedly. Disgraceful and not a flattering representation of the good people of Lansford.

  17. Tony Campisi says:

    Cry me a river! Didn’t right wing nuts disrupt Democratic town halls across the nation in 2009 and 2010? If you can dish it out, you damn well better be able to take it in. You’re a Congressman now, act like one.

  18. Scott says:

    The liberal shill operatives are getting more and more desperate as regular folks are starting to see through the facade that is the Democratic party. This system of oordinated disruption is only the tip of the iceberg. You see, the Dems have gotten so used to bribing poor people with entitlements in exchange for votes, and scaring them into being compliant, they really don’t know what to do about all the problems this methodology has created. But then again, they don’t care about the problems. Our tax money will take care of it……

  19. One Who was There says:

    I was there, she refused to allow him to answer her questions, when presented with the facts she refused to except them. Typical M.O. of the MoveOn.org, instead of letting people hear what he had to say she rudely interrupted him several times during his response to her. One guy came down from Monroe county and tried to disrupt the meeting like he did in his home county. They were trampling on the rights of the other people there that wanted to ask questions and here his responses. They scream about their rights, but they do not want to allow others to have their rights. Typical, Obama supporters!!! Stop drinking the Kool-Aid!!

  20. bob says:

    Since people now have this entitlement attitude and do not seem to understand that if we tax the rich @ 100% we still would have a deficit, I say let the system collapse under its own debt. Maybe, just maybe, people will finally get it.

    We cannot keep racking up debt. America is NOT too big to fail

  21. Patricia says:

    Our citizens should thank Linda..A “Town Hall” meeting should be the forum where concerns are exchanged.Why would Mr.Barletta’s office not welcome this input ?

  22. Deborah says:

    Supposedly Mr. Barletta is the representative of ALL the citizens in his district, not just the Republicans. I thought Linda was respectful and was making good points. It was the members of the audience who started yelling. Everyone, no matter what their views, has the right to be heard to be heard by their congressman.

  23. susan says:

    so now it’s “disruptive ” to question your congresscritter agressively?to be a Democrat at a Republican rep’s townhall?

    How Stalinist!

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