An opponent of pending healthcare reform legislation was removed from Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) town hall meeting in Las Vegas Thursday.
After Reid astonishingly told the invitation-only audience that "no state will benefit more than the state of Nevada" if ObamaCare is passed, Michael Steger stood up to voice his displeasure.
Shortly after the mostly Reid-supporting crowd chanted, "Sit down, sit down," Steger was physically removed from the facility (video embedded below the fold courtesy Real Clear Politics, h/t Seton Motley):
As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday, Reid and Company did everything within their power to stage this meeting in order to prevent any dissent:
Sen. Harry Reid declared Thursday that Nevada would benefit more than almost any other state if health care insurance reform becomes law, a pledge he made in a carefully choreographed forum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, that only a few hecklers managed to crash.
"Who's going to pay for it?" one woman shouted from the back of the packed Judy Bayley Theatre, several minutes after campus police escorted a young man from the auditorium when he questioned Reid's statement that the bill he shepherded through the Senate would help Nevadans.
"I'm here to tell you that when President (Barack) Obama signs this bill into law, Nevada will benefit more than almost any other," Reid, D-Nev., said before he was interrupted.
The statement -- which appeared aimed at responding to criticism that the Senate majority leader let states such as Nebraska win special benefits in exchange for support -- set off the protester.
"I have to say I have a point,'' said Michael Steger, the heckler who later identified himself as a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche, a perennial candidate for president and controversial activist.
The crowd of more than 450 mostly Reid supporters and Democrats shouted the man down, chanting ''sit down, sit down, sit down," which he refused to do.
Several men in the audience then grabbed him by the arms and dragged him to campus police, who released him outside.
Amazing. But there's more:
Outside the theatre, about three dozen protesters showed up.
Inside, the forum drew a friendly audience, which had to RSVP to attend. Most got invitations via e-mails from the Reid campaign and the Democratic Party, which helped organize the event. [...]Reid didn't take questions during the event, but he got a few tough ones while he was shaking hands and chatting with people afterward.
The toughest encounter was with Jeff Jones, 33, of Las Vegas, a multimedia Web designer who owns his own business. Jones asked Reid why he didn't take questions.
Reid told Jones he was welcome to participate in his next "tele-town hall," in which the senator takes questions over the phone, a strategy the campaign says allows him to address thousands of people at a time instead of several hundred. But it also serves to insulate Reid from voters and critics.
Indeed, as do the Reid-loving press: a search of LexisNexis and Google news identified not one major media report on this meeting or Steger's removal.
Such seems absurd given Democrat desires to keep healthcare deliberations secret despite presidential candidate Barack Obama's oft-repeated pledge to make them available on C-SPAN.
With the brouhaha over that broken campaign promise still smoldering, one would think the Senate Majority Leader holding a well-choreographed, invitation only, no questions town hall meeting where a dissenter was physically removed would be quite newsworthy.
After all, if George W. Bush was still president, and Reid was a Republican, CNN would likely have fact-checked the Majority Leader's comment about Nevada benefiting more from healthcare reform than almost any other state.
What a difference a "D" makes, huh?
*****Update: Maybe not so inquiring minds are trying to prevent Reid's poll numbers from collapsing further.