Southern Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has a new loyal following — but not the one she probably hoped for when she ran for office in 2006.
Conservative activists, opposed to the Democrats’ health care proposals, are jumping at the chance to confront the second-term Democrat and vent their frustrations.
But for now Giffords is not interested in engaging with people her staff says are using “manipulation” and “racism” to spread their message.
“Yelling and screaming is counterproductive,” she told the Sierra Vista Herald at a Congress on Your Corner event last week. There, one visitor dropped a gun at the meet n’ greet held in a Douglas Safeway, her staff says.
That has aides, who called police to the event, concerned for her safety.
“We have never felt the need before to notify law enforcement when we hold these events,” said spokesman C.J. Karamargin.
Such activists are showing-up at Democratic events coast to coast, including a recent one held by Northern Arizona congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.
But the leader of the Tucson movement, Trent Humphries, a former legislative candidate, says Giffords is lying. He says his followers have no intention of hurting her. And they’re not racists, he said.
“Nobody is threatening Gabby,” Humphries said. “But she does need to get in front of her constituents and answer to her constituents.”
Her staff says she’s done that.
Before this organized movement against Democrats started, Giffords held a health care town hall early this summer that drew more than 1,000 people. And just this month she held a tele-town hall, with 5,000 invited guests from her district on the line.
The more important point? What Giffords actually decides to do if there’s a vote on health care reform. Despite Humphries claims that Giffords supports the Democratic reforms, she’s stopped short of saying that much.
It’s that vote which could determine whether this frantic crowd or angry health care reformers in her own party are the ones following this Blue Dog around T-town.
Tags: Congresswomen, Gabrielle, Giffords, calling, conservative, activists, racist,
Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States (load item map)
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