St. Louis Public Radio News
7:58 am
Tue August 11, 2009

McCaskill faces jeers at health care forum

Poplar Bluff, Mo. – A town hall forum on health care that U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill held Monday in southeastern Missouri started with a standing ovation from the overflow crowd. But almost immediately, the event was punctuated with shouts and jeers.

The Democrat spent much of her time in Poplar Bluff trying to reassure wary constituents that the federal government will not run roughshod over the nation's health care system.

McCaskill challenged audience members to "take the money" of anyone who would bet Congress will approve a single-payer system.

But still, even louder applause erupted when an audience member called President Obama a socialist.

Another asked, "Where's the birth certificate?" That was a reference to a belief that Mr. Obama was born outside the United States and is ineligible to be president.

At an earlier event in the Bootheel town of Kennett on Monday, the dialogue was polite, and McCaskill even complimented the crowd on their "good Missouri manners."

McCaskill is holding another forum Tuesday afternoon in the Jefferson County community of Hillsboro.