17 August 2009

Protests A-Go-Go (Updated)

West Virginia's congressional delegation has attracted protesters of one stripe of another during their August break, The Associated Press and others report.

Last week's forum on health care co-hosted by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., got the ball rolling, with AP, Public Broadcasting (with video and audio) and others noting demonstrators from various sides turning out for the event.

WSAZ-TV reported that "all the questions were pre-screened by the organizers of the event." AP reported that "Rockefeller did field a variety of challenging questions from the crowd, though, with some of the more pointed inquiries coming from audience members in an overflow room who couldn’t fit into the Erma Byrd Art Gallery with the main audience."

The handling of the forum helped spur a demonstration later in the week. "A dozen protesters lined up on a street corner next to AARP's Charleston office Friday angry over what they feel is the group's stance on health care reform," MetroNews reported.

(The item quotes Fred Joseph, a repeat GOP political candidate who has previously shown up in "Tea Party" coverage here and here.)

Then there was the Town Hall-style meeting held by U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, in Wheeling on health care. Those with coverage of that include Public Broadcasting, The Intelligencer, MetroNews (with audio) and WTRF-TV.

And The Journal of Martinsburg, reports that U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, was at a Berkeley County ribbon-cutting ceremony when "a small crowd gathered to protest health care reform, but they quickly dispersed."

"One man, later identified as Russell Mokhiber, was walking along side of a group of people, including Capito, with a small video recorder," that article said. "Mokhiber said he asked to speak to her about health care and the congresswoman responded 'not now.'"

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-3rd, told the Bluefield Daily-Telegraph that "he will kick-off a series of town-hall style meetings on health care reform Monday morning in Mercer County. The town hall meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at the Princeton Health and Fitness Center in Princeton."

Update: Coverage of Rahall's meeting comes from The Register-Herald of Beckley and Public Broadcasting (with audio).

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