Who's Behind the Angry Town Halls?

For some, their anger is tightly focused on health care reform.

But for others, this issue is simply the final straw as CBS News Correspondent Ben Tracy reports.

"We didn't stand up when they took prayer out of school and replaced it with drugs, we didn't stand up and we got legalized abortion and they're killing babies, and if we don't stand up now, God help us," said Nancy Snyder who opposes the health care bill.

Some experts believe a growing anti-government sentiment - fueled by extraordinary events such as the bailouts of the banking and auto industries - is spilling over into the health care debate.

"I don't want this country to become Russia, to become socialist," Katy Abram said to Sen. Arlen Specter, D- Pa..

"When people see the change as being sweeping, complete, or large, they feel threatened and their immediate response is going to be to react," said Dan Durbin of the University of Southern California

Those fighting the health care bill contend the outrage is not organized.

To read more:
Health Care Battle Pits Fact vs. Fiction

Anger Keeps Coming at Latest Town Halls

"It's a million or so independent individual voices exercising their right to free speech," said Michael Patrick Leahy of the National Tea Party Coalition

Yet websites such as Recess Rally which is planning a nationwide health care protest, lists Freedom Works as part of its coalition. That's an organization headed by former Republican Congressman Dick Armey, whose lobbying firm works for the health care industry.

Also, a conservative group in Connecticut posted an online memo called "Rocking the Town Halls." The playbook outlines tactics to give congressmen, "a reality check from we the people." The memo advises to "watch for an opportunity to yell out … the goal is to rattle him."

But even some opposing the bill worry all the yelling will drown out their message.

The other side is organizing, too. Attendees at this pro-reform event yesterday in Los Angeles were recruited by a local social service agency.

"It seems like the Republicans have all these talking points that have been delivered through Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity, that's not true," said Pepper Mashay.

Democrats are now trying to play defense by sending out health care fact check cards to supporters with their own talking points.
  • Ben Tracy

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