Why wasn’t President Obama’s health care town hall forum in New Hampshire yesterday as raucous as some of the video clips we’ve seen at forums around the country recently?
“I doubt we’re seeing a representative sample of any series of town hall meetings despite the food fight on cable every day,” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said at his daily briefing today. The Boston Globe reports:
“People want to take the opportunity to find out from the president — to have him answer their questions about why he’s doing what he’s doing and the concerns they may have on the legislation,” he added. “I think most people took that opportunity as something that was positive.
“I think some of you were disappointed yesterday that the president didn’t get yelled at,” Gibbs told reporters, chiding them for paying too much attention to the back-and-forth between protestors outside.”
“A bunch of your stories had more to do with the fact that the — the sideshow on each side of the street outside than what was actually going on inside of the town hall,” he said.
Nothing in politics happens in a vacuum, of course. Presidential town hall forums are staged affairs with attention to detail about how it’ll play on the TV screen in the evening.
They’re not inherently phony, of course, and provide a piece of a larger contextual story. But so do the sometimes staged affairs going on outside, too.
Meanwhile, the White House is pushing back in the public-relations war, creating a Health Insurance Reform Reality Check page.
Conservative sites are already setting up a Health Insurance Reform Reality Check reality checks.