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LaRouche followers criticize health care plan

August 17, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Representatives of the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee set up a booth in Hagerstown on Monday to protest President Obama's plan to overhaul health care.

Donielle Detoy of Baltimore County, Md., and Kevin Gribbroek of Baltimore city stood outside the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration office and handed out pamphlets.

"We're stopping Obama's health care scam," Gribbroek told people who walked by.

The protesters had a permit to be there, according to MVA spokesman Buel Young.

Detoy said the group has set up at places across the state, including the Hagerstown MVA office last week. Representatives went to Hagerstown Community College on Wednesday for U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin's town hall meeting.

Young said the MVA tries not to have groups with competing messages in one place at the same time, but otherwise lets them express themselves.

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LaRouche is a perennial presidential candidate who served prison time for mail fraud and tax evasion.

At their table, Detoy and Gribbroek told visitors that the PAC wants to reverse the bank bailout. They showed people a pamphlet calling for the end of health-maintenance organizations.

Their booth had several protest signs.

One read "AIG -- Another Insane Giveaway."

Another said "Give Congress a Face Lift -- Evict Pelosi" and showed a picture of U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the speaker of the House.

One sign showed Obama with a mustache like Adolf Hitler's and said, "Is This Your President."

"We're going to defeat this Nazi health care," Detoy said.

Asked if it were extreme to compare Hitler, who was responsible for the extermination of millions of people, to Obama, Detoy said, "He earned it."

Some passers-by called out their support.

Others stopped to chat with Detoy and Gribbroek.

"To me, personally, it's good to see people out there fighting," said Michael Spong of Big Pool.

He said people on both sides of the issue have made right and wrong arguments. Meanwhile, "the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer," he said.

"Their message is exactly what a lot of people are thinking," Kathi Long of Hagerstown said after stopping at the booth. "Something has to be done."

Long said she wants to learn as much as she can about the issue.

"I agree with them, but I'm not big on LaRouche," Faith Johnson of Hagerstown said.

She said everyone should be able to afford health care for themselves.

"I don't want government-run health care," Johnson said.

While receptive to the PAC's message, those interviewed for this story were less keen on the likeness of Obama as Hitler.

"It was a bit much," Spong said.

"I think that might be taking it too far," Johnson said.

Young said some people complain about the PAC's presence and message, but the group has a permit, and other groups can spread their message.

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