From: Margarida Jorge
To: HCAN Field Partners
RE: HCAN—Responding to Right-Wing Attacks in the Field - August 4, 2009
Since early February, we’ve seen increasing numbers of militant right-wing activists attending public meetings across
the country targeting Members of Congress and President Obama. Now in the August recess, the “tea-bagger”
protesters and right-wing activists are showing up in larger numbers with a mission to be as disruptive as possible in the
hopes of rattling Members of Congress and halting health care reform through pure spectacle and obstruction.
Our response is shaped by 3 things:
Our targets are Members of Congress who must vote “yes” for this bill. Our targets are not the right-
wing extremists. The targets of these attacks are Members of Congress. Those Members are also our targets.
We need to use these attacks as opportunities to work with the Members in ways that build our relationship in
the field and bring us together as allies in health care reform. Members may be more receptive to partnering
with us if they know we will help them combat the opposition.
Our core message is effective, and we should always come back to it. Our campaign plan has always
anticipated opposition. No matter what the right-wingers bring up to distract the debate, we should always circle
back to our key message. We are on the side of quality, affordable health care for everyone, and we are against
turning over health care reform to the insurance companies and lobbyists who got us into this mess to begin
with. We need to educate the press and the public that the protesters are aligned with the corporate lobbyists
and insurance companies who are trying to stop reform.
Our ability to put the extremists into perspective helps us frame our narrative. We should be prepared to
respond to the other side, but we don’t need to be reactive or feel pressure to answer their accusations point by
point. Instead, we should treat them as agents of the insurance lobbyists who want