On the same day that an employee of Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-8) tried to eject two attendees physically from a senior-citizens’ forum in Montclair, Pascrell was caught on a new Internet video saying something even more embarrassing at another, earlier event.
The Montclair Forum for Senior Citizens wasn’t the only event that Pascrell held on August 9. That morning, at 9:00 a.m., Pascrell also held such a forum at the Wayne municipal complex. Debra Winters of Wayne Today filed this glowing report, essentially summarizing the points that Pascrell made. Among the points that Winters made (or, perhaps, repeated) was that the healthcare-reform bill passed earlier this year would somehow extend the life of Medicare. “Without it, Medicare premiums and cost-sharing were estimated to use up more than 30 percent of social security benefits within the next 15 years. And seniors today would pay 20 percent of the cost of office visits and services,” Winters said in her article.
However, if this was the event that Winters was covering, she missed a rather heated exchange between Pascrell and a constituent who rose to question the basis of Pascrell’s analysis. According to this video (and to the North New Jersey Tea Party’s Mark Kalinowski, who was on the scene), the trouble began after Pascrell boasted that the massive bill would extend the life of Medicare by 12 years. An unidentified questioner then cited a report, mentioned also at Economics21 and HotAir.com, stating that the lead actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) dissented from the rosy projection by his colleagues that Pascrell might have been citing. (Economics21’s editors noted that such a dissent, appended as it was to the annual Medicare Trustees’ Report, was almost unprecedented and illustrated a severe attack of conscience afflicting the actuary involved.)
Pascrell clearly grew impatient, as the video shows. Then he asked, “What’s your question?”
The questioner replied, “I’m asking you: please comment on this.” When Pascrell hesitated further, the questioner repeated his observation.
Pascrell’s verbatim reply was: “That’s why I’m here, and you’re there.”
As expected, Kalinowski took severe exception to that remark in his Facebook message to followers, and then said, in effect, that seeing is believing. What might not have been expected is that neither Winters nor any other journalist before today has seen fit to mention this exchange, and instead published a report that reads more like a Bill Pascrell press release than an objective report of the day’s events. The contrast between Winters’ report and these two by The Montclair Times‘ Terrence T. McDonald, who covered the Montclair event, is, for lack of a better term, striking.
In related news, Roland Straten, Pascrell’s Republican opponent, announced today that he will hold a rally at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 24, in front of the Montclair Town Hall, to discuss what he says is “the truth behind the health-care bill.”
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