Video: Grayson, a hero for the Democrats?

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    >> great point, chuck. thank you.

    >>> allen grayson is finding a new following among liberals after his insistence of the republican party wanting americans to die quickly. he called the gop a selfish party. congressman grayson joins me. what did you mean by that?

    >> there is a fundamental difference between the parties. if you are in trouble and need help, the democratic party needs to help you, and the republican party wants to tell you you are better off if nobody helps you. for 3,000 years, we have known a good society feeds the hungry and heals the sick. the republican party is a party of no.

    >> congressman joe wilson also became a rock star for his party when he shouted out you lie, when you say you die, you lie, you die, isn't it all rhetoric?

    >> no, that's nonsense. comparing what joe wilson did to what i did, it's not the same. what i did was a bob dylan protest song , and what joe wilson did is like a belch.

    >> aren't you more interested in using logic?

    >> yes, i am. if you get sick the republicans have nothing to offer you except saying don't get sick. what do the republicans do for the 47 million americans that have no coverage? nothing. that's the same as saying to somebody, don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly. that's a fair description of the republican's plan.

    >> you have a message to harry reid . what is it?

    >> my message to harry reid is it's time to move on. we are losing 44,789 americans that die every single year because they have no health insurance . that's 122 every single day. we have to move ahead to save the american lives and we have to move ahead now.

    >> do you anticipate this is going to pass, and it's going to pass with some kind of public option that does help? i am hearing from viewers that are in dire straits when it comes to their health care . they don't feel they could get the health care that this is promise of america. do you feel confident there will be health reform passed in the house and senate?

    >> absolutely. that's what america wants and needs, and this is still a democracy. people voted last year for change. this is the change they wanted. they wanted health care for all. affordable health care . health care that was there when they need it. there is so many people in the country that find they can get all the health care they need as long as they don't need it. that's got to change.

    >> thank you so much for your time.

    >>> new questions about the safety of american weapons in the war zone , and whether they

updated 10/13/2009 8:48:38 AM ET 2009-10-13T12:48:38

A Florida congressman tried to make sure a health care town hall meeting he hosted Monday night didn't turn into a debate about his recent remarks that Republicans want sick people to "die quickly." He mostly succeeded.

When the House floor speech that's given him national attention came up almost immediately, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson dismissed the subject, saying, "My time is limited tonight and I'm not going to debate politics, I'm going to debate health care."

The first-term congressman then answered a string of questions from people opposed to health care reform, supporters and the undecided. Absent was the over-the-top rhetoric that has made him a YouTube sensation. And the crowd was mostly civil and supportive of the congressman that Republicans accuse of incivility.

But then the subject came up again about half way through 90 minute meeting, and he gave in and explained why two weeks ago he said , "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly. That's right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick."

Grayson said he was trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but the point he was making was that health care reform is needed to save lives and Republicans aren't offering solutions that save lives. He said health care isn't about being liberal or conservative.

"This bill not only saves huge numbers of American lives, not only saves money, but also brings a certain, I don't know — what's the right word? ... civility to the way we deal with each other," Grayson said.

Grayson has always had a reputation for being brash, but few outside his district, which stretches from Orlando to Ocala, knew who he was until now. Hardcore Democrats are rallying around him. Republicans are just getting sick of him, and they're hoping the attention dies quickly.

"He's not addressing the serious business of the nation, he's simply grandstanding and becoming a clown," said Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer.

Outside the meeting, about 60 people gathered to protest Grayson, many of them holding signs. Among them was Barbara Fabian, a 64-year-old Republican from Tavares who voted for Grayson but has soured on him since his comments late last month.

"At first I thought he was OK," Fabian said. "I really don't think he's using his brain power. I was wrong."

Grayson's "die quickly" remarks have been compared to the shout of "You lie!" made by Rep. Joe Wilson , R-S.C., during President Barack Obama's September speech on health care. Grayson said after Monday's meeting there's no comparison.

"What I did was like a Bob Dylan song and what he did was like a belch, just sort of evacuating his own feelings in the midst of a presidential speech," Grayson said.

More on: Alan Grayson

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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