Dobbs and Crowley Try to Paint Town Hall Protests as Grass Roots Movement
Even after admitting the involvement of groups like Right Principles and other lobbyists groups, Dobbs and Crowley attempt to paint the movement as grass roots, rather than being funded by the insurance and health care industries. Dobbs and Crowley also ignore that groups like CPR are now taking credit for ginning up the outbursts at the town hall rallies.
DOBBS: Joining me now for more our senior political analyst Candy Crowley -- Candy, what do you make of these protests and we just heard Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, obviously mocking these people and saying fairly straightforwardly that this is organized protests. Is that true?
CROWLEY: Well, listen, there is no doubt there are a lot of conservative groups out there who are using their Web sites to encourage people to go to their town hall meetings. But this is not some subterranean movement that they don't want people to know about. And there are groups that you heard of before, some of them well heeled, Conservatives for Patient's Rights.
They've had a number of ads against a sort of Obama style health care reform. They are now on their Web site trying to reach out to some of these groups -- the tea party people that we saw on tax day. Others are saying, you know, here's where the town hall meetings are and schedules like that. There's another group, Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, I'm sure you're familiar with that...
CROWLEY: ... is a conservative social group. If you go on that Web site, you can see indeed where there are town hall meetings. Now, there's also an interesting place called Right Principles and I just talked to the head of that group. Now -- and his name is Robert McDuffie and he wrote a memo that has gone all over the Web about how to rock the town hall meeting. And it's very lengthy and it says, you know, go in there and stand up, you know...
DOBBS: Does it suggest whether that be a Democratic or Republican town hall meeting?
CROWLEY: It does not, but this is a group that's definitely protesting the current form of health care reform, as they see it. And he said -- and I said, so, you're starting this movement. He said you know anybody that thinks that a guy sitting in Connecticut with a Web site can influence someone in Texas to go to a town hall meeting, you know, is crazy.
I wrote this for -- he says he wrote it for grassroots activists in Connecticut. He is indeed connected to those -- was a volunteer for those who put together the tea party on tax day. And he said, but you know -- he sort of tapped into -- he said you know people come to him and say I write my congressman and then I get back a letter that doesn't even respond or I get back a letter like I'm on the other side.
And he said he just feels his frustration, so they all sort of say this is not some big master plan, but it is a loosely knit group of various conservatives who are -- the insurance industry also sending a representative to 30 states trying to urge people sympathetic to them to go to these town hall meetings, so yes there is this -- there are lots of groups out there doing this.
But it doesn't seem to be some master plan of sending people who don't understand what they're talking about. They're trying to urge like-minded people to go to these town hall meetings, which they say is what town hall meetings are about.
DOBBS: Certainly part of it. It's also, if you will, synthetic grassroots if that turns out to be the case that it's organized as Gibbs suggested today. It is also quite a different thing if people are simply inspired and alerted to go to a town hall meeting on an issue that is of obviously vital interest to nearly all of us. Which is closer to the reality, as you've examined the facts?
CROWLEY: As far as I can tell from talking today, there is one central group that is bussing people from one state to another. There is by the way a group that's going out on a bus this summer to try to talk about health care that's ante the reform they see, but there doesn't seem to be say one central organizing group. But there are lots of organizing groups. And it's interesting just -- one last thing...
CROWLEY: ... is if you look at the politics of this, it is in the interest of the White House and those who support the president and his bid for health care reform to say, you know what? This is all the insurance industry, it's all these whackos. It's the birthers. It's the you know the crazy people.
DOBBS: Oh God, don't say birthers whatever you do not on this...
CROWLEY: What I mean is -- so they're trying to -- you know and they're describing you know sort of these people that are fringe. But it is in the interest of those who oppose it to have the YouTube videos go up, to have us talking about it, because it strengthens their side. And the truth of the matter is what you're looking at here is a health care debate which all the polls show is split right down the middle and you are seeing the results of that.
DOBBS: In a highly passionate debate...
DOBBS: ... prospect. Perhaps we're going to have that great national conversation about this extraordinarily important issue. We're certainly going to do our part on this broadcast and you're leading the way for us, Candy Crowley. Thank you very much.
DOBBS: We appreciate it and by the way, you can say birther whenever you want. It's OK. It's what you say after that...
CROWLEY: I don't think so. Thank you though.