Frank: Protesters Were Nicer Today, But Situation Still Out Of Hand

Lauren Victoria Burke

I caught up with Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) as he was making his way into the Capitol — and right after he had just walked through another crowd of angry anti-health care reform protesters. Yesterday, Frank’s interaction with the swarms of anti-reformers on the Hill this weekend resulted in an ugly scene where one in the crowed called Frank “you faggot.” Today, Frank said things were a little different.

“Some of them were,” when I asked him if the crowd was nicer to him today than it had been yesterday. “At first they were nice — and then it got personal.”

A lot of other reporters then began to ask him about yesterday’s incident, so I didn’t get to find out what “it got personal” meant exactly. But Frank made it clear that he still blames the Republicans for some the rowdy protests that are happening on the Hill this weekend.Frank had more tough words for the Republicans like the once he told me yesterday, when he blamed GOP leaders like Michele Bachmann for using “inflammatory rhetoric” to, he said, help instigate scenes like the one where he was called a “faggot” in the halls of the Capitol complex.

Speaking with TPMDC’s Brian Beutler shortly after I chatted with him, Frank recounted a story of an anti-reform protester in the House viewing gallery who had to be led off by security after the protester became disruptive.

Frank said that as the protester was being led away, Republican members on the floor began cheering him on loudly. Frank said the scene was a shock.

“I’ve never seen members of the house cheering on a guy resisting being kicked out of the chamber,” he said. “It’s a dangerous situation and The republicans are cheering him on.”

Frank told me that the Republican tactics are not just limited to protesters. When I asked him when exactly he’ll know the final tally of Democratic votes for reform. Frank said he didn’t know, and wouldn’t until much later in the day thanks to the GOP

“See, the problem is, I think they’re planning to kill their parents and claim they’re orphans,” he said of his Republican colleagues.

“We were hoping to have the vote in the early evening, but they’re going to delay and it’s going to be late when we have the vote,” he said, “and they’re going to denounce the fact that the vote was taken in the middle of the night.”

“But if they delay it,” he said, “that’s…I mean, that’s just a Republican plan to slow it down.”