Rowdy protesters turned a Tampa town hall meeting on health care reform into a near-riot last night, reports the St. Petersburg Times, whose reporter at the scene likened the atmosphere to a wrestling cage match. Local Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor was shouted down by audience members crying "Tyranny!" and "40 million illegals!" as the overflow crowd waiting outside the building pounded on the doors.
"They can't even run a meeting, and they want to run health care?" asked one activist as the meeting became chaotic. Many of the estimated 1,500 people in attendance said they had been encouraged to come by an activist group promoted by Glenn Beck. Castor—who left the meeting early after being drowned out by the boos and jeers—said that while a strong debate is healthy, some "phony protests" are being created by the GOP and insurance industry.