Obama Hopes for "Civilized" Town Hall

(CBS)
President Obama heads to Portsmouth, N.H., Tuesday for a town-hall meeting on the health-care legislation still pending in Congress. Protesters plan to voice their opposition for the Democrats' plan outside the meeting and could possibly bring the kinds of disruptions found at similar meetings for members of Congress inside the gym at Portsmouth High School.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told CBS' "The Early Show" Anchor Harry Smith Tuesday how Mr. Obama would respond should anyone disrupt this afternoon's town hall.

"I think what the president will do is turn to that person and probably ask them to be civilized and give them an answer to their question," Gibbs said.

Gibbs noted he's attended more than 500 town-hall meetings Mr. Obama hosted throughout his political career.

"We've been to a lot of meetings where people didn't agree with us, but the tradition of a town-hall meeting is to give people information so that they can make a decision about a policy that impacts their lives," Gibbs said. "I know the president is excited about engaging the public again."

Such disruptions prompted top House Democrats to respond. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called the disruptions "un-American" in an op-ed for USA Today.

Smith asked whether Mr. Obama expects Congress to deliver a health care plan by Columbus Day (Oct. 12).

"The president hopes he has a bill on his desk sometime this fall that he can sign and begin to put the insurance companies and the health care system back on the side of middle class America," Gibbs said.
  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com

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