Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mary Landrieu Health Care Town Hall: Ducking Question on ObamAbortion Mandate

Via Pat in Shreveport, here's this from the Times-Picayune, "Sen. Mary Landrieu's Health Care Town Hall Meeting Gets Raucous":

Sen. Mary Landrieu has left the building after about two hours with a boisterous crowd at the Louisiana National Guard outpost Reserve.

Crowd estimates at Thursday's meeting range from 500 to 650 people. There were a few more than 400 chairs set up, and it was standing-room only around the periphery.

Most of the questions were overwhelmingly in opposition to the general concept of "Obamacare," a pejorative label put on House Democratic plans for a health insurance overhaul. There were scores of other, less vocal attendees who sported stickers with messages like, "Health Care Now" and "We can't wait." Some were part of union organizing efforts. Others came with the encouragement of the White House's national field operation.

There appeared to be political operatives or activists from varying interests carrying video cameras, meaning some of the most heated exchanges could be circulating shortly online, as have key moments from health care town halls around the country.
Landrieu, a Democrat, spent much of the 90 minutes trying to focus people on the complexities of the current system and where the problems are regardless of one's coverage status: Medicare, Medicaid, employer plan, veterans care or uninsured. She said she was pleased with the reaction: "People took a lot of responsibility to respect each other and state their opinions. ... I learned a lot. That was the whole reason for today."

The senator said afterward that she remains generally skeptical of a "public insurance" option to compete with private plans and she underscored her support for the Wyden-Bennett "Healthy Americans Act." But she at least tacitly acknowledged that her preferred bill may not be what Senate leaders eventually bring to the floor.

Whatever does come to the full body, Landrieu said she will not be influenced by the political calculus of being associated with President Barack Obama -- who lost Louisiana badly and remains unpopular here -- or her national party leaders.

"I have my eyes not on the president or the Congress. I have my eyes on the people," said Landrieu, now one of 57 Democrats in a chamber that takes 60 votes to overcome minority delay tactics. (There are two independents who often vote with the Democrats.) Landrieu continued, "This is not about Democrats or Republicans or President Obama. This is about listening to the people I represent and seeing if we can find a way to better coverage."
This is a live-blogging report, so check the link for more. Here's the passage describing the moment at the video above:

The loudest cheer of the afternoon came in response to the question about whether Landrieu would commit to vote against a bill "which does not specifically exclude taxpayer funded abortion."

"I do not support taxpayer funded abortion. I do support people's choice under the Constitution." That prompted a reaction that drowned out the rest of the senator's answer.
Actually, Landrieu dodged the question.

And here's why, " Tax money Will Pay for Abortion in the Health-Care Bill."

It's pretty interesting, in any case, that Senator Landrieu is trying to buck the White House on healthcare reform. I think Louisianans have the pulse of the nation going on down there ...