A recent AP news report motivated me to write the following email to my contacts... My Vietnam War ex-Navy pilot neighbor & I miraculously scored tix to the closed Health Care town Meeting at Portsmouth High. Despite initial misgivings about all the hassel involved, I went this morning. Got great seats. President Obama was close by, a short football pass away. He spoke informally for awhile addressing what he called distortions and myths about the plan. Then he opened up for questions. Anyone could ask. As a financial type guy and a skeptic particuarly about the financial aspects, which I regard as quite a bit of hand waving, after hearing his repeated assertions that we (the govt) were going to crack down on abuses and save $700 billion of the cost, I was loaded for bear with Tort Reform or lack of same in the plan. Without geting too much into politics and completely rehashing the meeting, he eagerly took on all comers and was very articulate, informative, funny, respectful and responsive to each citizen. It's easy to see how so many folks worship 'The One'. His position is...the plan solves all today's healthcare problems, insuring most everyone, lowering everyone's premium costs, accomodating pre-existing conditons and costing taxpayers making under $250K nothing. Too bad I didn't get called on but understandably so with all the hands asking questions. He ended up with something like this...(paraphrasing) "I know I'm not gonna convince those of you skeptical of the financial aspects but I hope I've informed you about the facts of the plan". Outside as expected, democracy in action with two large groups of demonstrators facing off against each other across the street. Demonstrators and their signs are fine, but the nimrods on each side with bullhorns yelling insults at each other (WTF? You're gonna convince the other guys with bullhorns???) were obnoxious. Two things bothered me. Neither was Obama's fault. First AP news stories claimed there were no questions from skeptics. "The encounter was so friendly, in fact, that by the end Obama was even asking for skeptical questioners to come forward β to no avail." Absolutely and inexcusably untrue. It's what motivated me to write this. This AP canard gets picked up in all newspapers and internet sources. President Obama ran out of time having asked skeptics for their questions. Many of us had our hands up to be called on but it was physically impossible. I don't know why the writer feels it's important to distort the facts of the meeting to make it appear that everyone was a supporter. As expected, the place was of course stuffed full of Obamabots but still there were several tens of us folks eagerly responding to his request for questions from skeptics. Some few got a chance. He just ran out of time, NOT out of skeptical questions. The mainstream press really needs to stop making stuff up to suit their fantasies. Too much of this is going on. They do the President a disservice as he capably addressed a few skeptical questions presenting his point of view. No wonder most people no longer trust or read the NY Times, Boston Globe, etc. Secondly, after the meeting I got asked repeatedly by outside bystanders waiting to glimpse the President, was it civil in there? While the emphasis on civility is welcome, where was all this concern about civility for the last 8 years? On a related issue, my take on these congresscritters facing angry crowds is that those pols show up to a gunfight carrying water pistols. Some of us respect the office of the President of the US, whomever is the occupant. President Obama came prepared, as well he should be as the plan's advocate. Right off the bat he addressed many of the hotbutton issues in the opening remarks, admitedly from his viewpoint, and he was able and willing to answer specific questions well. The congresscritters I've seen who had problems with constituents did several very different things. Unlike Obama, they were not familiar with the legislation they were advocating, and could not answer basic questions. Completely unacceptable. Worse yet, they would blatantly answer a different question than the ones asked, thus frustrating attendies. This BS non-answer tactic did not occur in Portsmouth. Finally, unlike congressional Town Meeting sessions I viewed, the president was very respectful towards citizens asking critical questions. It is ironic that years of Iraq War protest, Bush = Hitler etc. failed to raise the sudden public and press angst about civility that is now suddenly the forefront of concern with a different group of the political folks feeling the heat. No chance to challenge him to one-on-one hoops post speech. I hope this is absolution for missing traing camp today.