David Scott on a racial undertone in the debate over health care reform

Just got off the phone a few minutes ago with U.S. Rep. David Scott of metro Atlanta, who underlined what he said are some worrisome racial undertones in the current health care debate.

U.S. Rep. David Scott of metro Atlanta/Associated Press

U.S. Rep. David Scott of metro Atlanta/Associated Press

As noted this morning, Scott was the topic of a WXIA TV report over the weekend, which detailed an Aug. 1 confrontation with opponents of health care reform at a town hall meeting in Douglasville.

Scott angrily accused protestors of attempting to “hijack” the meeting.

On Monday, the congressman said he stood by those comments, which were recorded by the city’s cable TV outlet — then truncated into the WXIA report.

The edited video hit the airwaves only this weekend, but in fact was one of the first of many such clashes over health care reported around the country.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Decatur) will host a town hall meeting on health care this evening. His staff says 20 law enforcement officers will be on hand to maintain order.

What the WXIA report failed to capture, the 13th District congressman said, was the fact that the health care protestors intruded on a delicate, local discussion.

“That was not my town hall meeting. It was the city of Douglasville. They had worked months to put a town hall meeting together, for me to come and to explain and to give comfort and assurance [to] the community that would be impacted,” Scott said.

The topic was the $70 million reconstruction of Ga. 92 in the community. Sixty-eight homes and businesses will be destroyed in the process.

“It would go right through the heart of the African-American community,” Scott said. “These people don’t know — they’re willing to try to trust here, but they want some comfort. They want to know how their homes will be appraised. How will the neighborhood be impacted? The whole future of Douglasville rests on this road. That’s what that meeting was about. It was not about health care.”

Scott said it was the fact that the meeting wasn’t his, and dealt with a sensitive topic, that made him use the sharp tone.

“I was going to stand up and get the respect of the constituents of mine that had worked hard to put a meeting together. And I was not going to let [health care protestors] hijack this meeting. We were discussing the life-and-death issues of their future and their homes and their way of life,” Scott said. “It was very disrespectful and selfish. I had to speak up for the respect of the people of Douglasville.”

Scott said he’ll be the sponsor of a health fair in Jonesboro on Saturday. “I’m willing to take questions. But that’s mine. This meeting was not mine,” Scott said.

City Manager William Osborne, who moderated the Douglasville event, confirmed that health care protestors had to be called to order “four or five times” during a meeting that lasted nearly four hours.

The city manager said the demonstrators weren’t a surprise — Herman Cain, the WSB Radio talk show host and former Republican candidate for senator, had urged those opposed to current health care proposals to show up.

But Osborne also disputed descriptions of Scott as “ranting.”

“He was angry and he showed that anger. But he was totally under control,” Osborne said.

Scott said he understands why he was the target of confrontation. As the only member of Congress who is a member of the Blue Dog and New Democrat caucuses, plus the Congressional Black Caucus, Scott says he has begun to fill the role of go-between on the health care issue.

“I think members of Congress have to stand firm, and they have to be able to realize that we’re in a fight — that this is a serious issue, it is a deliberative issue. But we’re being hanged in effigy,” he said.

Scott said he has no problem with protestors exercising their freedom of speech.

“This is a different thing here. We’re dealing a concerted effort to use these town hall meetings to bum rush Democratic congressmen about this issue,” Scott said.

While Scott acknowledged the legitimate concerns that many Americans have when it comes to overhauling health care, the congressman also expressed worry about the debate’s undertone. Scott e-mailed me a sampling of some of the rougher health care mail he’s received — the ones with variations of the n-word.

“You were, you are, and you shall forever be but a ———-,” one fax to his office reads. The missive includes a mug of President Barack Obama with a hammer-and-sickle stamped on his forehead.

“The folks are not going to stand for socialized medicine even though most Negroes refuse to stand on their own two feet,” says another.

“These people are bringing [in] race — and ‘Negro’ and ‘colored’ and Obama,” Scott said. “We should applaud the fact that we have an African-American president and he is working on this. This is a great thing. But it should not be a racial situation. What have we done except look at the problem and move on it?”

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514 comments Add your comment

South Sucks

August 10th, 2009
2:49 pm

What an idiot. Vote him out

South Sucks

August 10th, 2009
2:53 pm

Just because I am against the health care plan doesn’t mean I am racist. I find it misleading that pro-obamacare supporters pick the worst sound bites and excerpts to try to paint all those that oppose their reform as racist. According to the Dr that asked about the obamacare proposal, he had tried to get in touch with Scott about it but Scott refused to meet with him. Scott is a liar that abuses his power to attack the people he should be working for. Vote him OUT!

Rev. Dr. Aymer

August 10th, 2009
2:56 pm

Unfortunately, the rise of racial vitriol against an African American who refuses to vote the way a mob wishes him to vote is neither surprising nor particularly newsworthy.

Especially in Georgia.

Margaret Mueller

August 10th, 2009
3:09 pm

Another smoke screen designed to obscure truth and freedom of speech by concerned citizens. Shame on this “servant of the People” — do any of Speaker Pelosi’s sheep know what that means now-a-days? Both Dems and Reps can smell the rotten fish they are trying to sell us. So, stop already! Enough! Answer the people’s questions, and don’t keep using those tired talking points no one believes, anyway. Show “the People” some respect. Answer our questions.

What???

August 10th, 2009
3:10 pm

Rev, I wasn’t aware one person (the Dr. that asked the question) or the majority of Americans (who oppose Obamacare) was a mob. It is downright sad that anyone would resort to racist claims but its a two way street, unfortunately. Either way, Scott was a jerk to that man who asked a question the only way he could get Scott to acknowledge his concern. I am also pretty confident that he wouldn’t have reacted that way if it was a black man that had asked the question but I do not know that for sure. Scott needs to go.

TLG

August 10th, 2009
3:28 pm

Why do liberals always play the race card when they are losing? No one has brought race into this, except the democrats. Vote this socialiust out of office. Throw them all out in 2010 and the rest, including Obama, in 2012. Obama…what a disappointment. Now we need to pray for “change.”

Jim007

August 10th, 2009
3:36 pm

Vote him out !!

Kathy Sivid

August 10th, 2009
3:38 pm

I wish I lived in his district, because I would vote him out. He treated a constitutent horribly, and one that was respectful to him and the group. He should be ashamed. And it has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with regular Americans getting sick and tired of their representatives not working for them, not listening to them and not even reading the freaking bills. It is a disgrace. Vote them, out and Hank Johnson, you are my rep, and if you don’t treat your meeting attendees better tonight, you will find yourself in trouble too. Do not support a single payor system or government run healthcare.

Another Preacher

August 10th, 2009
3:39 pm

The Health care debate is important. But there are other issues that are important too. If my house was going to be taken out by a highway project, I’d want some answers! And there are answers needed with health care – but that doesn’t mean that the ones who shout the loudest win the day. If that is the case then we are lost – in more ways than one.

4th District

August 10th, 2009
3:40 pm

Yet again, the south has risen an is showing its TRUE colors. The congressman was asked a question about HEALTHCARE at a meeting to that was to discuss the topic of a $70 million reconstruction of Ga. 92 in the community. Sixty-eight homes and businesses will be destroyed in the process. Homes that just happen to be in a predominantly African-American community. So its OK to distract, divide, and abuse the democratic process when its AFRICAN-AMERICAN HOMES at risk…. just as long as the GOP gets it’s point across…which is what again????? Oh yeah that’s right… stop people from getting health care.

Rebecca Bishop

August 10th, 2009
3:41 pm

Leave it up to AJC to let unintelligent people to write a comment. Feel sorry, because it scares me that people don’t see that it is all about ignorance of certain people.

Ted

August 10th, 2009
3:42 pm

Yes vote this moron out. Enough with these imbeciles and their quest for more bigger government and control of our lives. So sick of these cretins.

Any Time Is Good

August 10th, 2009
3:43 pm

Were not a mob anymore. Dont you read the papers. We have no been labeled POLITICAL TERRIORISTS. I about fell out of my seat when I read that one. They all need voted out. Every last one of them

Melodie

August 10th, 2009
3:43 pm

Enough of this Socialist agenda! The last time I looked we have the RIGHT to assembly and protest. Obama and his cronies think they’re going to ram this crap down our throats and make us all LIKE it? Ha! America, you’d damn well better wake up and realize what is at stake here.

snapshot

August 10th, 2009
3:44 pm

TLG, I agree 100%. They always cry race. We need to get the socialist out. All of them. Socialism/Communism is there a difference? God help us.

Douglasbluedog

August 10th, 2009
3:44 pm

Scott is the racist in this argument. He cannot intellectually argue his point so he hides behind the color of his skin. When will the fools who vote for people like this going to learn that race is a poor reason to vote for someone. Thats how you get idiots like McKinney making you look like a bunch of clowns. My money will go to his opponent in the next congressional race.

Vinings Resident

August 10th, 2009
3:45 pm

Vinings is in David Scott’s congressional district, and I can assure you that is in name only. Scott does nothing for Vinings and I would say that has “racial overtones” because there a lot of white people living in that area. Please help vote Scott out in 2010 – he is a dinosaur and needs to be given the boot.

HUH?

August 10th, 2009
3:45 pm

If I’m not mistaken, the faxes sent to Mr. Scott’s office is what brought race into this issue. If you want to be heard and want respect then give it in return. The sad part is that all of this makes everyone miss the big picture and I’m pretty sure the ones protesting haven’t read anything but have gone on the word of others. Before speaking please be informed. Has anyone here read the entire proposed healthcare reform bill? I haven’t so until it is made available for me to read, I’ll keep my opinions on it to myself.

Pat Pace

August 10th, 2009
3:45 pm

Rev, Dr. Aymer, Not sure what you believe but my Bible says that we are to help the poor, not make them poorer. This healthcare bill is not designed to give health care it is design to control people. I would think that “your”(you use the word “my”) people have been controlled enough. DO NOT PUT US (any of us) UNDER SLAVERY. This Helath Care plan and the Cap and Trade plan will destroy this nation. We just need Congress to cut taxes and get out of the way and we will be just fine.

Kenneth Cobb

August 10th, 2009
3:47 pm

Let’s face it. The issue is not really health care, the issue is that there is a black man in the white house. Pure and simple, you know racist are always the last to know they are racist.

Amazed

August 10th, 2009
3:47 pm

Any US Congressman who makes himself available to the public right now can anticipate questions on healthcare. The democrats have made it clear that they are passing this through without republican support or negotiation. The citizens have no choice but to stand up and say what they believe and since the democrats have said they are not going to be listening, people are having to say it even louder. Every thing the democrats are accusing the republicans of, they are the ones who are actually doing it. I am so glad America has woken up, even if it was after the election. I am concerned citizen, not racist, I voted for Herman Cain and hope that he eventually runs for another seat.

The Truth Hurts

August 10th, 2009
3:47 pm

It’s called racism because it is. You people, yes, you people can’t handle the fact that a Black man can get this done. It’s eating you up. We can see it. It hurts to the core that that idiot president we had in for the past 8 years just screwed everything up, the surplus, relationships around the world, the global economy. You said yeah, let’s hand this mess over to the Black man and watch him fall on hie face. Now you’re frickin’ surprised at his ability to take it all on, head-on, and get it done. You know things are getting better, you just don’t want to admit it. And, like it or not, Health Care reform is coming, despite racist conservatives utilizing freedom of speech to hide their ignorance, are trying to hi-jack. It’s coming, just sit back and watch our new awesome President, get er’ done.

Mobster

August 10th, 2009
3:49 pm

I’ll continue to disrupt your meetings until you stop disrupting my life and liberty.

holton

August 10th, 2009
3:49 pm

I tried voting him out. We actually a great candidate to run against, an african american FEMALE!!! DOCTOR no less. You better believe she would have had a better perspective on how to fix healthcare than a career politician. And please he is by far a Blue Dog Democrat. I contacted him about his support for Cap and trade and his letter back was very demeaning and basically stated that I didn’t know what I was talking about… but I’ll grant you that was most likely his staff.

Amazed

August 10th, 2009
3:50 pm

And Kenneth, people like you that are willing to make that statement, make me believe that because there is a black man in the white house you will support anything that he does no matter what the effect on our country.

jcg

August 10th, 2009
3:51 pm

This kind of retaliation from David Scott is exactly what is holding back the African American community. Stop making excuses for yourself! He is a community leader with no respect for his community. And Rev, Dr. Bishop Whatever you are, be so glad you are a black man in America today – you have been granted far more on the basis of simply being black than anyone could ever dream of.

billy bob from cobb

August 10th, 2009
3:52 pm

Last time I checked Hermans black. So is he a racist too? Maybe the aclu should get rev. al and jessie down to get a march going. How in the world could the demogods confuse healthcare with racism? Just a smoke screen to help cover the stench of this bill

Mobster

August 10th, 2009
3:52 pm

The truth hurts-

I’m racist because I don’t support the ideas of a black man, but you’re not racist for not supporting the policies of President Bush?

Even bad logic works both ways.

Parker Jones

August 10th, 2009
3:52 pm

“One of the consequences of such notions as “entitlements” is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” — Thomas Sowell, author-economist. American.

Antwoine Anderson

August 10th, 2009
3:53 pm

It is strange that just becuase he does not support the anti-healthcare position, David Scott has been labled a racist, and an idiot. I would hate to hear what his opponents think about him after the proposed bill passes. Maybe some of the estimated 1 million out of work opponents can just reject the coverage this fall when they are sick with swine flu….. I’m just saying.

Corey

August 10th, 2009
3:53 pm

Ted, did you read the article? Was it the headlines and a black man’s picture that caused you to post a comment that had absolutely nothing to do with what Mr. Scott said?

Ryan

August 10th, 2009
3:54 pm

The constitution grants us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Healthcare, food, housing etc. are not rights. For decades our govt. has engaged in acts that are destroying our civil liberties and violate the constitution. They steal from those who work hard and give to those who do not. It is time for us to stop this once and for all…

j

August 10th, 2009
3:55 pm

What a cry baby….who cares were HWY 92 runs or what it does….Oslama is about to ruin this whole country with socialized healthcare!!!

james

August 10th, 2009
3:55 pm

“The war’s on,” says Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind., and he’s not talking about a conflict overseas. The battle over health care is in his own backyard, where thousands of people are trying to tell him what to do, some not so nicely.

Hill is a leader of the Blue Dogs, a caucus of 51 conservative Democrats whose hard-bargaining support is critical to President Barack Obama’s bid to overhaul the health-care system.

“I’m trying to control the event,” Hill said, shortly before an informal discussion with a dozen business people at the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. “What I don’t want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions.”

That decision irritates some of Hill’s constituents, who have been calling his office to demand time. They are furious that he voted July 31 in the House Energy and Commerce Committee for a hefty bill that would include a government-run insurance option.

TJ

August 10th, 2009
3:56 pm

To Margaret, TLG, What et al? What are your ideas on reforming health care? Here are a few of mine. Note this is primarily health care reform, not Health Care INSURANCE reform. Any reform effort must aggressively attack these issues below to lower the costs for everybody.
A few tenets that I value above all:
1. Prevention. This is the key. The leading causes of death/health issues are all lifestyle related.(Heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetic related illnesses, and accidents.).
2. Personal responsibility. An insurance company should be able to adjusts its rates based on a person’s health risks. Some health issues are hereditary of course and should be exempt. But if I smoke, am overweight, etc and refuse to change, I should have a higher premium.
3. Public option(limited). This is not a government takeover! A public option can be simply where the government subsidizes the payments, just like an employer does for its employees. Like your employer, the government writes a Summary Plan description of the coverage and benefits. Then (like your employer) it steps ‘out of the picture’ and pays an administrator(like NGS, Blue Cross, etc) to handle the claims and collect the premiums.

I know have I simplified this(in less than 1000 pages!) but this is the kind of reform I can support. Please share your ideas. Name calling, race baiting, etc will get us nowhere.

BiteMe

August 10th, 2009
3:56 pm

Same sh*t, different story in the ol’ AJC!!!!!

Halibut Maoir

August 10th, 2009
3:56 pm

4th District-I am a conservative. If this meeting was primarily about Ga 92 & the homes/business’s that will be destroyed then I agree,maybe that was’nt the time or place for questions in regards to Health Care. I don’t agree that it was about race(typical & easy retort). Also given the importance of the Health Care issue I think Scott was naive to think it would’nt be brought up. People want answers, and are’nt getting them. So as elected official you can’t pick and choose what you want to talk about without some type of fall out.Obama has used the tactic of grass root organizing for over a decade,and I have’nt heard one negative response from the left. Why is that?

Sharica

August 10th, 2009
4:00 pm

Was I the only one to finish reading the story. I know at the end of the paragraph he referred to emails and letters he has been receiving from ignorant azz people. Anyway how can you bring up healthcare at a meeting about people homes. That is just insane….to me!!!

And I wish that people will take the time and read the healthcare and stop listening to their right-wing cowards. I mead have you people learn enought about just listening to what people tell you. I mean really, didn’t the nation debt increase when Bush told you we had to go to work because of weapons of mass destruction. Have we yet to find those weapons yet? Ignorance…still come in all shape, sizes and “COLORS”

Roadrunner

August 10th, 2009
4:01 pm

Rep. Scott sees a lot of things that never happened. A few years back he spoke at my kid’s high school and told them a story where immediately after the Civil War President Lincoln met with Robert E. Lee at the White House rose garden where they discussed the reconstruction of the country and how they would both work toward the rebuilding of our country. He presented this as fact, unfortunately my teenage son knew that this along with a lot of what Rep. Scott had to say was totally bogus. The meeting he described never happened, and I’m equally sure he’s wrong about the reason’s behind the uprising against the Dem’s healthcare plan.

The Nerve

August 10th, 2009
4:02 pm

Unbelievable. Those of you who throw the term “racist” around need to first learn the definition and then get the chip of your shoulder. Maybe then we can have a discussion. Crying racism because does not agree with a policy made by Obama is infantile at best.

GA Girl

August 10th, 2009
4:02 pm

I DO live in his District and we have tried to get him out of office in this last election, I voted for Dr. Honeycutt. It seems that everytime their (Dem’s.) backs are up against a wall they attempt at playing the race card. I for one am sick of hearing it. There was a video posted on youtube over the weekend, about a Pastor talking about the white folks will riot. It’s a good video. While I do agree there needs to be more affordable healthcare in the country, socialized medicine IS NOT the way to do it.

The Truth Hurts

August 10th, 2009
4:03 pm

Billy Bob, Herman just uses this conservative cover to make money. Trust me, when he goes home, he knows he’s black. People, we should all stop following entertainers. I worked in advertising for over 20 years, Hannity, Cain, Limbaugh, Conservative, Liberal, if they are on the air, they are watching ratings and will do whatever it takes to build wealth, which I have no problem with. I just take their views with a grain of salt, Jesse and Al too.

And “Amazed”, please, please tell me why in general, conservatives supported everything that President Bush did while he literally drove the country into the ground? Please, help me understand that??? Lest we forget, “HIS” administration told us we were on the brink of a depression, if we did not pass the stimulus Bill, that is now blamed on President Obama!

Stephen Daugherty

August 10th, 2009
4:04 pm

It’s really unfortunate nowadays that you can identify what posts come from the right by the name calling. A few Democrats lose their tempers, and it’s such a shock, but when hundreds of their own not only seem to lose their tempers, but never seem to have known where they were in the first place, it’s just them speaking their peace. Well their version of speaking their peace seems to be about preventing others from doing the same. Well, why? Because they’re objections are so rationally laid out that they fear not having control of the debate?

I’ll tell you what’s really happening. For years, people like themselves had their way, and they could rest secure in the knowledge that they had control. Now they don’t, and unfortunately, many take seriously all the negative, silly things people said about Democrats the last twenty years- silly things that imply that Democrats are these monstrous, amoral, powermongerers.

I think Republicans ought to wake up and realize that they have a lot less to fear than they thought, and the only reason why folks are riling them up, is that they want power back that they haven’t earned the restoration of.

ray

August 10th, 2009
4:07 pm

Our health care system, which now only leaves a mere 50 million people without coverage, is wonderful. Clearly the envy of the world. Why should we change it, just because a bunch of liberal, socialist, communist idiots think it shouldn’t send you into bankruptcy when you get sick. People who can’t afford their own health care probably aren’t worth keeping around anyhow. Send them to Canada or Britain or France, or perhaps, better yet, let them expire.

RoadRanger

August 10th, 2009
4:07 pm

Well, it didn’t take Scott long to play the race card in an attempt to divert attention away from his incredibly revealing rant at his constituent. Obviously, he read the White House talking points on responding to domestic “terrorists” who oppose nationalized health care. Unfortunately, he made a fool of himself and insulted a big percentage of his constituents who now understand they don’t have a representative in the House because they don’t look or think like him. Scott is a slave on the Democrat plantation and Pelosi-Reid, et al, have him just where they want him. I feel sorry for Scott. He was my representative before redistricting and I had no idea he was such a loser. Let’s hope that voters in the 13th District can find someone in 2010 who respects constituents and wants to represent all of them, not simply the legion of the oppressed.

conerned citizen

August 10th, 2009
4:08 pm

Rep. Scott has resorted to playing the race card. This is very disappointing and very small of him!

Douglasville Resident

August 10th, 2009
4:08 pm

Where was all this outrage when the Republicans were in control of our finances. They lied to us. Committed our children to wars that were being fault to pad the pockets of political cronies. They allowed the rich wall street insiders to get super rich to the detriment of ordinary Americans. They allowed the bankers and developers to get richer by financing homes to those who could not afford them in the first place. This is very evident around our Douglasvill community. Where is the outrage? Check your records and you will see the the presidents of most of the banks in Douglas County are Republicans. I am not totally satisfied with Rep. Scott, but the attendees to this forum were out of hand and disrespectful. There is still a lot of hate in some people will never go away. We cannot lose site of the big picture. That picture is that our Country is crumbling at the heals of run away health care cost. This problem does not just affect African Americans, it affects the majority of our society. We were blinded once by the Rupublicans who clouded our thinking by interposing religous belief with political decisions. Remember that the frames of our constitution had a reason from keeping religion separated from government. Let’s not be blinded again.

mike

August 10th, 2009
4:09 pm

“that kenyan- born communist muslim obama, he’s trying to tell me what doctor i can go to!”… this is pretty much standard fare on these blogs.. god y’all right wingers are a scary bunch… Full disclosure: i’m white, wealthy and i would rather have a national health care system… I dont get brainwashed by liberal media why do you guys get brainwashed by rush, fox news, hannity, etc?

timthebrave

August 10th, 2009
4:10 pm

I haven’t seen the details of the plan so I can’t comment on it. Most people that support it or reject are told to do so by someone else. We can all agree that something needs to be done by health care. I am lucky in that my work provides me with health care. Everyone deserves health care. As much taxes as we pay it seems like that is one thing that could be covered.

Fred

August 10th, 2009
4:11 pm

8*@Kenneth Cobb** “Let’s face it. The issue is not really health care, the issue is that there is a black man in the white house. Pure and simple, you know racist are always the last to know they are racist.”

Give me a break! Would you like to discuss how many people voted for Obama because he is black and they didn’t have a clue what his policies (or lack of) were? I have nothing against the man and couldn’t care less what color he is. I have major problems with his policies. I don’t want to be told that if I happen to be unemployed, that I can’t conserve my limited funds by choosing not to have health care so that others that don’t make that choice can.