John Lewis hit with the ‘n-word’ by tea party demonstrators

This was posted by McClatchy Newspapers last night:

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol , angry over the proposed health care bill, shouted “[the n-word]” Saturday at U.S. Rep. John Lewis , a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during an Alabama march in the 1960s.

The protesters also shouted obscenities at other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, lawmakers said.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is questioned by reporters about an incident involving tea party demonstrators as he leaves a speech by President Obama to House Democrats on Saturday. Associated Press

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is questioned by reporters about an incident involving tea party demonstrators as he leaves a speech by President Obama to House Democrats on Saturday. Associated Press

“They were shouting, sort of harassing,” Lewis said. “But, it’s okay, I’ve faced this before. It reminded me of the 60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean.”

Lewis said he was leaving the Cannon office building across from the Capitol when protesters shouted “Kill the bill, kill the bill,” Lewis said.

“I said ‘I’m for the bill, I support the bill, I’m voting for the bill’,” Lewis said.

A colleague who was accompanying Lewis said people in the crowd responded by saying “Kill the bill, then the n-word.”

“It surprised me that people are so mean and we can’t engage in a civil dialogue and debate,” Lewis said.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver , D- Mo. , said he was a few yards behind Lewis and distinctly heard “[the n-word].”

On Sunday morning, Republicans denounced the language. “What you had out there yesterday was a handful of people who got stupid,” said Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Steele, who is African-American, denied that the language used by Republicans during the health care debate fueled the harsh language outside the Capitol on Saturday.

On Friday, the last two Georgia congressmen chose sides on health care: John Barrow (D-Savannah) announced he would voted against it. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) said he would vote yes.

Over the weekend, the Atlanta Tea Party in essence took out a classified ad, soliciting primary opposition to Bishop:

“Despite thousands of phone calls, trips to his offices in Georgia and Washington, D.C., and countless polls that show Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to Obamacare, Congressman Bishop is completely ignoring the will of the people of Georgia who elected him,” said Atlanta Tea Party organizer Julianne Thompson.

“The organizers and members of the Atlanta Tea Party are looking for a strong Democratic primary candidate as well as Republican candidates that will listen to the voters, and represent their interest, instead of special interests,” she continued.

Bishop already has two Republican opponents: Mike Keown and Rudy Adams.

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186 comments Add your comment

DMB

March 21st, 2010
11:04 am

Typical of the hatred of the GOP. Just sick.

tc

March 21st, 2010
11:05 am

some tea partiers b!te!

R.Barnes

March 21st, 2010
11:11 am

Lewis is the biggest phony there is! Racist works both ways!

MrAttitude

March 21st, 2010
11:14 am

Why am I not surprised? The whole Tea Party concept is about hate. The attitudes that have been shown since the inception of the racist party has been brewing for a long time. So now many in America are “shocked” at the behavior? Just look at the crowds! And the GOP has chosen to hitch their wagon to this group. Then again, its a perfect match, because both groups are similar to each other.

Gordon

March 21st, 2010
11:14 am

Come on, that was a dozen scumbag idiots out of thousands. This story was printed for a reason, to equate the civil rights movement to this health care bill. Just another example of liberal media bias. If this bill passes or not, it is nothing compared to the heros that lead the movement of the 1960s. This is about expanding government and entitlements and nothing else. Hello DMB, the hatred of the GOP? Where were you from 2000-2008? Speak about hatred, there was plenty of it thrown the GOP’s way by liberals. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.

WeWantToKnow

March 21st, 2010
11:15 am

Gordon

March 21st, 2010
11:15 am

Mrattitude, you are generalizing people and doing exactly what you are attempting to be against.

Gordon

March 21st, 2010
11:19 am

If the libs were out protesting, I would bet my life that the dozen or so idiots who throw hateful and inappropriate slurs would never make the front page of the AJC.

(Gasp!) Clutch the pearls!

March 21st, 2010
11:24 am

Racism in the tea party? WHAT??! The people the GOP wants to manipulate — I mean, embrace — are racist??? I’m shocked . . . SHOCKED, I tell you!!!

“Tea party patriots” is just another name for the Council of Conservative Citizens. The KKK by any other name still stinks.

firstborn40

March 21st, 2010
11:31 am

we need healthcare reform…big pharma and all it’s cronies will no longer be able to rape americans…if they really cared, why is this an issue in the first place, they should have lobbied for legislation that made it easier for those without the money and seniors to have health care and and access to cheaper meds….stop taking from the poor and giving to the rich!

what have you done with all the money you’ve made so far! where is your accountability!!!???

vote yes for healthcare reform…the future generation can’t hate what the bush era has done for their parents anymore than what the obama era will do for them…at least in their childhood they will have access to medical care that will ensure them to be here in the future to hate!….unlike what has happened in the past!

president obama is fixing what caused him to loose his mother at an early age…and i’m not mad at him!

republicans…grow up…you are always against anything that will help the masses…if it weren’t for the masses….you wouldn’t be where you are today….trying to protect something that you received from devious and unmentionable ways!

your reign is up….why can’t you learn to play with others?!!!!

td

March 21st, 2010
11:35 am

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …
And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure.” Thomas Jefferson

typical crappy ajc story

March 21st, 2010
11:36 am

There are racists in both parties and don’t even say there is not. It is racist to say somone is racist because you don’t like Obama. I dislike Obama and Pelosi evenly. It has nothing to do with race, they are both idiots

jack

March 21st, 2010
11:37 am

Far right wackos have always used words to distort. In the 60s, the way you make it OK for black students to be denied entrance to a STATE school, was “states rights”. That sounded better than “we’re racists”.

Now its to call the ability of normal people to PURCHASE health insurance, “ObamaCare” so they can tie it into racism and pretend socialism.

Right wingers distort, know they distort, and WANT to distort.

Julius C.

March 21st, 2010
11:37 am

It sounds like a Democrat Party dirty trick to gain sympathy.

Gordon

March 21st, 2010
11:37 am

Polls show a majority of Americans are against this. Your reign is up in November. Better enjoy the entitlements now, come November of 2012, GOP is gonna run all over this guy. It is gonna Reagen/Mondale all over again. Obama will take very few states.

MrAttitude

March 21st, 2010
11:40 am

Gordon,
Just what am I generalizing? I am speaking specifically about the team party. Anyone who follows the tea party knows what’s their true mission. I see you did not address the comments that were made by members of the group. Does that mean you condone their behavior. Just what does that type of language have to do with health care reform when racial slurs are spoken to members of the house? If you want to sit in your chair and believe that what they are doing is their civic duty, then you need to stop drinking the tea. And it has nothing to do with liberal bias, which is what many conservatives scream when they have been called out.

Ok, humor me. When many on the left protested the war when GWB was president, how often was he accosted with racial slurs?

Gordon

March 21st, 2010
11:41 am

The Dems have never distorted anything. You need a history lesson. It was not Republicans who were against the civil rights movement. Hello? Southern Democrats were all over it.

Logic

March 21st, 2010
11:43 am

Everyone try to use some common sense. There are morons on both sides of this issue. Just because one person yells something stupid does not mean all tea party people are racist. Likewise when someone like Al Sharpton says something stupid it does not mean he speaks for all Blacks. The health care system needs reform. Everyone agrees on that….the question is whether this legislation is the answer.

John Lewis = "Unificator"

March 21st, 2010
11:45 am

The great thing about America is you don’t have to be a racist to hate idiots and other self-righteous imbeciles like John Lewis.

See, John Lewis is a “unificator,” someone we can ALL unite in hating because of what a disgrace, fake and divider he is.

Gordon

March 21st, 2010
11:45 am

Those idiot dozen or so who were shouting racial slurs do not represent the majority of the Tea Party movement, and you know it. The Tea Party is about limited government and limited taxation.I happen to believe the Feds should operate on the least dollar amount possible. That is all. Bush spent, Obama spends. This is not the function of the American government to make sure everybody has everything they need. A little self reliance is in order.

mcoloradus

March 21st, 2010
11:46 am

how easily we excuse the extreme and hateful actions of those we agree with, how easily we dismiss the claims of those who hate and disagree with us as unfounded. the entire debate has turned into a class and racial warfare excercise that has really polarized all parties involved. the taking of middle class older white Americans wealth and entitlements they have earned and supposedly diluting their access to health is the argument provided by these extremists.i have been in this country long enough to tell that without any doubt the outcome of these changes will result in one thing only -business as usual-the insurance and drug companies will reap even more profits as they will find a way to circumvent whatever the government does thru bribery .The issue in this country in continued concentration of wealth in tthe hands of a very few that will result in the continued exportation of jobs out of this country on a massive scale. By the time we awake from our sleep the only industries that haven’t been outsourced in this will be that of health care and incarceration

Gordon

March 21st, 2010
11:47 am

To answer your question, we would not know how many people screamed racial slurs at Bush, it would never be published. That is my point.

Keep doing this GOP

March 21st, 2010
11:47 am

Have you ever seen any African-Americans at these so called Tea Party rallys? Nope. The polls also show the more people find out what is actually in the bill, the more they like it. Heck, 70% of the people like the public option. We will see what happens in November.And in 2012 , who are the R’s going to run against the President? Limbaugh? Palin? Paul? Felix the Cat? , Perdue? And while we are at it, lets see more GOP members posing with big checks from the stimulus after bragging they voted against it.

Yevette

March 21st, 2010
11:48 am

The tone of the people who do not support any policies of President Obama is very sad. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether he is a good president but the fact that he is not a white man. Shame on you Republican Party, shame on you Tea Party!!!

td

March 21st, 2010
11:49 am

This dumb a** political class, be it left or right, that we have allowed to gain power needs to be woke up and realize that WE THE PEOPLE are sick of them. We are sick of the right taking care of business and not WE THE PEOPLE. We are sick of the left taking care of the unions and the lawyers and not WE THE PEOPLE. They live in the world of lobbyist and big money contributors and forget about the rest of us and think we will forget about the crap they do and the bills they pass. WE THE PEOPLE will not forget about this vote and the votes in the future. The politicians have woke WE THE PEOPLE from our lathargic rest and we are ready to take this country back. It will not be an easy fight and might and there might have to be some blood shed but we are ready to bring back our freedoms and liberties and will do what it takes to keep them.

Riordan

March 21st, 2010
11:50 am

Polls show Americans are about evenly split on this issue. The system is working like it’s supposed to. No matter which side wins, we’re all Americans and I hope people remember that. It’s not “life, liberty, and my may or the highway.”

oldmactech

March 21st, 2010
11:51 am

Similar to the bozo in CA that couldn’t figure out how to turn his Prius off…probably made it all up or at the very least embellished it.
JB

pw

March 21st, 2010
11:53 am

First of all, this public outcry is not about healthcare reform. It’s about the fact that we have a President who is Black.

Secondly, only people who have never had to go without health insurance are against this bill. It’s not perfect but sometimes you have to start with duct tape and take the full repairs on in steps. When you are paying $500+ for health insurance for your family that you can’t take advantage of until you’ve satifsfied a $3,600 deductible and your daughter has just fallen off of her bike and needs to go to the doctor but you as a parent hesitate because you realize that despite paying $500 a month you will still have to pay for this visit our of pocket, that is when you know we need healthcare reform.

Straight Arrow

March 21st, 2010
11:53 am

“if it weren’t for the masses….you wouldn’t be where you are today”. Right out of the Marx-Lenin handbook. That is the view that goes beyond mere socialism. However, it is a good time to push that agenda because the Republican Party has no sense of where they want to be. It is a sad situation when the opposition accepts with open arms hate, mythology and pseudo-science to try to assemble a constituency. I fear for the future of this country.

tipster

March 21st, 2010
11:53 am

Yes, Gordon, you are right, Southern Democrats were against the civil rights movement. And where did most of those Southern Democrats end up?

Ace

March 21st, 2010
11:54 am

Most white neocons use the word at least once a week, just not in public.

Cutty

March 21st, 2010
11:56 am

Tea Partiers finally got religion when a black man was elected to the Presidency. If they were for limited government so much they would’ve rose up when the Department of Homeland Security was formed, when Bush admitted to wiretapping the conversations of Americans was done, and when Medicare Part D was passed. Its all because a black man is the head of the country, nothing more. Hence the calls that he isn’t American.

rsclinks

March 21st, 2010
11:57 am

Dear Mr. Steele, that “handful of people who got stupid” you referred to is your base. And it’s more than a handful and they didn’t just “get stupic” they’ve been stupid all along. Wake up and realize that you are nothing more than a token puppet to throw a smokescreen in front of this racist hate-filled party.

Ace's Reality Check

March 21st, 2010
12:04 pm

Ace @ 11:54 am -

Actually, NO, stereotyping, race-baiting simpleton we do not.

However, if the proverbial shoe fits…..

MrAttitude

March 21st, 2010
12:05 pm

I see my point was totally ignored. What does the use of racial slurs have to do with health care reform? And let’s not even speak of polls – we all know how they can be slanted to prove their point. I see you didnt mention about the polls that favor health care reform. Hmm, wonder why.

Gordon, we do agree on this point – Bush spent and President Obama is spending. All presidents will spend, no matter what party they are members.

And to pull out the Civil Rights/GOP card – how classic. And what has the GOP done since then other than attempt to pass laws to erode the same act they “championed” back in the 60’s

td

March 21st, 2010
12:06 pm

Cutty, Why do you think the dems have been gaining power since 2006? Was is because the Republicans acting like with the big government approach and spending like crazy? The 2006 and 2008 elections were all about individual conservative America sending the republicans a message. The dems were given a chance and Obama was out there telling everyone he was going to be for the people and change the way Washington worked. Well it did not take long for everyone to figure out that was a bunch of crap spread. Obama are his actions have resulted in all these individuals to we trusted the Republicans and they hosed us, we gave the dems a chance and Obama lied to us now it is time for us to stand up and take back our country. So yes, Obama is the reason for the Tea Party movement but no it is not for the reasons you libs want to attach to it.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

March 21st, 2010
12:09 pm

Why, *why* do my posts never show up?

Brass coconuts

March 21st, 2010
12:10 pm

Bill Clinton was a fiscal conservative.

Troothsayer

March 21st, 2010
12:16 pm

Thank you “we want to know”….of course it’s the same way to stir up something non existent and make it into a civil rights march/issue. I surprised Hosea didn’t show up with a brick mark on his head. From the grave…….

Dagnabbit

March 21st, 2010
12:19 pm

Consider the source and then determine what level of intelligence it takes to call someone such names.

JLD

March 21st, 2010
12:19 pm

South Carolina never did except the lost of the civil war and desegragation. Pockets of hatered for Black Americans is still apart of every day life down here in the South —–it’s just below the surface. Blacks are the only immigrants who didn’t want to come to this country!!!!!!

aMan

March 21st, 2010
12:19 pm

I am amazed how many of my fellow citizens have no idea what they are protesting against.

Nor do they realize how the Insurance Companies in an oligopole with the big health care providers manage to suck them dry over the course of their lives.

A simple basic public option to prevent people from dying b/c they have no money – and everybody is in it, so everybody chips in a bit – would be a sound bases. If you want more for your personal comfort or whatever you could buy a private additional insurance. No problem. But this public option does what the insurances do too: Spreading the risk of randomly occuring desease over all the costumers. Spreading it over all Americans would make no difference, except the price goes down.

Oh so many poor people would be entitled for life rescuing stuff? Well, yeah it makes more sense to pay private, doesn’t it? A big chunk of your payment goes to your agent, into marketing for the company, to lawyers, is taken for pure profit and the rest is what they give back to you for care. Or deny it with the lawyers they payed from your money. Think again.

And I am especially fed up with some conservative positions: If life is so precious that abortion should be a felony everywhere, why do you fight to keep your anti-wrinkle money yours and deny the life rescuing heart operation to a probably-not-so-white (come on, this is what it boils down to) teenager? But yeah, good job on killing one of the soundest initiatives of reform in a decade with your agitations.

- Comes in handy that most of the public has a joke education, again thanks to you rich conservative people.

Aquagirl

March 21st, 2010
12:26 pm

td, I wonder why folks found the ballot box appropriate expression in 2006, only to abandon it for screaming slurs in 2010? Nice try at dodging, though.

MBW

March 21st, 2010
12:29 pm

It doesn’t matter if the GOP leaders “denounce” it. Everyone knows that those kind of people are welcome in the Republican party. Not all Republicans are racist, but you can darn well bet that most racists are Republicans.

Faye Goolrick

March 21st, 2010
12:30 pm

AJC: RE the racial slurs hurled at John Lewis as he was DOING HIS JOB in Congress — how about some ORIGINAL, first-hand reporting on this issue? This is an appalling verbal assault (and almost physical, lots of jostling and crowding) on a legendary Georgia Congressman because of the COLOR of his SKIN, and you are giving us a CLIP JOB of second-hand reporting? You can’t even bother to provide your Georgia readers with some original reporting? Who were these people, who funded them, where are they from, were they armed, do they have criminal records, are they members of the KKK, John Birch, other violence-prone organizations, do they work for insurance companies, do any of them live in Georgia, etc. How about some enterprise reporting here?

Vote For Pedro

March 21st, 2010
12:30 pm

Why Republicans will spend endless trillions to keep me alive from terrorists but not from cancer? The cancer is WAY more likely to get me than some terrorist is.

Keith

March 21st, 2010
12:32 pm

Watched the youtube and didn’t hear what Lewis and crew are claiming. I’ll believe it when I hear it.

say what?

March 21st, 2010
12:35 pm

what does the healthcare bill have to do with calling Lewis the n-word? It doesn’t it is people showing their true self. People who have don’t want other people to have what they have. thus thr rich get richer, and the middle class sinks closer to the poor. Unfortunately, the middle class is trying to keep others down just to feel good about itself. Just stupid because the rich could care less about any of us, they just want our 401(k) investments to make the divide even greater.
And just like dumb lower class humans we keep falling for their tricks everytime. Tea party is doing the bidding for the elite, but you are only hurting yourself.

Lynn

March 21st, 2010
12:40 pm

The Tea Party started it’s National Convention
by stating that we need to put into place a literacy
test used during the 40s-60s to stop black people from voting back in place.
That was racist in itself- The Tea Party is the new KKK
if they weren’t the GOP wouldn’t be trying to distance
themselves. I’m not A GOP fan but they dontt agree with the
racist ephilets. The bottom line on healthcare is the
what both partys stand for- republicans are always for Big Business and foreign issues and
the Democrats are for domestic policy- neither are
wrong it’s just how they are expressing those ideals at this time.
Get rid of all of Congress/Senate and replace with common, ordinary people!!

E.S. Roberts

March 21st, 2010
12:45 pm

N-words come in all colors and races and surely the ones that called Mr. Lewis a N-word are one themselves. If you tea partiers want your country back then fine, pay me for the free labor that you owe my ancestors and that I have inherited and also since I have white blood in my family tree, give me my part of the wealth that the white side inherited and I will gladly go back to the mother land.