As House Democrats worked furiously yesterday to secure the 216 votes they need to pass health-care reform later tonight (they got them, by the way), the steps of the Capitol were full of angry protesters who wanted nothing more than to derail the proceedings inside. At one point yesterday, those Democrats had to walk by those protesters. That's when things got ugly.
An aide to Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, said that as he walked to the Capitol, Mr. Lewis was called racial slurs. A spokesman for Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said that a protester spat on the congressman as he was walking to the Capitol for a vote.
According to a statement released by Cleaver, U.S. Capitol Police quickly diffused the situation and escorted the congressmen into the Capitol. The police later found the spitter, but Cleaver declined to press charges.
Predictably, racial slurs weren't the only slurs thrown around by the protesters.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams.
The Huffington Post says Frank shrugged off the incident, but South Carolina Representative James Clyburn was far less forgiving.
"It was absolutely shocking to me," Clyburn said. "I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus."
As unbelievable as the spitting and the slurs were, we've all learned by now that the real gems from the Tea Party protests come from the signage. Yesterday did not disappoint.
Spitting and Slurs Directed at Lawmakers [Prescriptions/NYT]
Tea Party Protests: 'Ni**er,' 'Fa**ot' Shouted At Members Of Congress [HuffPo]