President Obama has always called for civility in this ugly, sometimes racially motivated environment called the American political system. And on his most recent engagement with the American people in an open-air town hall meeting in Iowa, the Tea Party used the president’s call for civility as an opportunity to show how uncivil they really are, shouting accusations from the audience to Mr. Obama and engaging the President in what is being described as a “sparing match.”
This report from Yahoo.
US President Barack Obama went head-to-head with a prominent conservative Tea Party activist, in a microcosm of a political clash that will play out in the 2012 election.
Ryan Rhodes, a leader of the group in Iowa, took on Obama during an open-air town hall meeting, which marked a moment of new intensity in the president’s campaign for a second term.
Rhodes shouted out that the president’s calls for more civility in politics had little chance of coming to pass after “your vice president is calling people like me, a Tea Party member, a ‘terrorist.'”
His question referred to media reports that Vice President Joe Biden made such a remark in a private meeting with House of Representatives Democrats at the height of a debt showdown earlier this month.
The clash came as Obama was intent on wrapping up the meeting in the shadow of a red country barn draped with an American flag, as the sun set on a rural corner of Iowa.
“I know it’s not going to work, if you stand up, and I asked everybody to raise their hand… I didn’t see you, I wasn’t avoiding you,” the president said, but later circled back to answer Rhodes’s question.
“I absolutely agree that everybody needs to try to tone down the rhetoric,” he said, before going on to detail some of the more explosive charges that conservatives have laid against him.
“In fairness, since I have been called a socialist who wasn’t born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a health care bill, I am all for lowering the rhetoric.”
Obama and Rhodes later engaged in an animated conversation as he greeted supporters on a rope line after the event, and the activist later told reporters that he believed that Obama was indeed a socialist.