Thousands for Healthcare at Town Hall in Reston | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Thousands for Healthcare at Town Hall in Reston

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Last night in Virginia, nearly 3,000 people crowded into a high school gymnasium for a healthcare town hall meeting co-hosted by Congressman Jim Moran, and former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean.

Most people in the long lines that developed outside South Lakes High School in Reston hours before the meeting began, waited relatively quietly.

Joan Pierre, a registered nurse who's in favor of some form of new legislation, said it was a good sign.

But many people on the other side of the discussion, like Tim Halisky, said they were tired of being vilified for voicing their opinions.

Once inside, the crowd gained energy and it was Howard Dean who provoked the strongest reaction. While he spoke, a group of anti-abortion activists, led by Operation Rescues Randall Terry, stood up and accused Dean, a physician, of murder.

Moran, who represents much of Northern Virginia, quickly stepped back up to the mic requesting that the group leave. Police escorted Terry and several others out of the gymnasium.

After that the discussion returned to health insurance and questions from the crowd. Dean, who does not currently hold an elected office, won favor with some of the audience by giving some unvarnished answers.

Deans starring role at the meeting didn't impress everyone. Tom Ruzic suggested Moran needed Dean to make it through the night.

The meeting lasted two hours nearly three thousand people attended.

Jonathan Wilson reports...

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