The White House is now taking a hard line against the Tea-Party organized disruptions of Democrats’ town hall meetings, the Washington Times reports, with press secretary Robert Gibbs referring to it this morning as “the Brook Brothers Brigade in Florida in 2000,” “Astro Turf” and “manufactured anger.”
The first two questions in the following transcript are from a separate reporter, with all successive questions from the Washington Times:
Q: Are you concerned at what appears to be well-orchestrated protesting of health care reform at town halls as derailing your message?
GIBBS: NO, I get asked every day about the myriad of things that could be derailing our message. I would point out that I don’t know what all those guys were doing, what were they called, the Brooks Brothers Brigade in Florida in 2000, appear to have rented a similar bus and are appearing together at town hall meetings throughout the country
Q: They seem to be pretty widespread.
GIBBS: I seem to see some commonality in who pops up in some of these things.
Q: Like individuals?
Q: Can you discuss names or ….
GIBBS: I don’t have names but I think you can see quite a bit of similarity between who shows up where.
Q: Robert, if these town halls are even being influenced by, whatever, a cabal or individuals, how problematic is that for you guys to try to your message out? Even if the premise that it is unfair is correct, it’s still going to shape the way these town halls are viewed throughout the country.
GIBBS: Well, you know, look, I hope people will take a jaundiced eye to what is clearly the Astro Turf nature of so-called grassroots lobbying …
Q: The grassroots what?
GIBBS: The Astro Turf nature of grassroots lobbying, which is largely the term for, you know, this is manufactured anger.