Raucous, ugly build-up to House health care vote

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Associated Press

Posted on March 20, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 20 at 11:50 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health care protests on Capitol Hill today have turned ugly at times.

Demonstrators surrounded members of Congress as they crossed the street between their office buildings and the Capitol. Many yelled "kill the bill," but some racial epithets were heard, aimed at black members of Congress.

Rep. Andre Carson told a reporter that as he walked with Rep. John Lewis, a leader of the civil rights era, some chanted "the N-word, 15 times." Both Carson and Lewis are black, and the Indiana Democrat said "it was like going into the time machine" with Lewis.

A spokeswoman for Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn said a protester spit on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver. Clyburn called the behavior "absolutely shocking." The South Carolina Democrat people were shouting things he hadn't heard since 1960 when he was "marching to try to get off the back of the bus."

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