Friends, Foes Line Up for Obama Town Hall

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 10:28 AM CDT
In this July 29, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama holds a town hall on health care reform at Broughton High School in Raleigh, NC.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)
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(Newser) – Roughly 100 supporters and about half as many protesters have already lined up along the road outside Portsmouth High School in New Hampshire, where Barack Obama will hold a health care town hall meeting at 1pm today, the AP reports. About 70% of the 1,800 tickets were distributed by random lottery, and Obama is prepared for fireworks if some of them landed in the hands of health care opponents.

“I'm here because I'm an American, I believe in free speech and I'm scared to death,” said one 65-year-old, holding a sign that read, in red ink blurred by the rain, “Hands Off Our Health Care.” Asked what the president would do if interrupted, Robert Gibbs said Obama would “turn to that person and probably ask them to be civilized and give them an answer to their question.”