Last night as I drove home on the dark highways in rural Nicollet and Sibley Counties, a friend from Rochester called. He had not been able to get into the packed auditorium and so joined the crowd of over a hundred people outside the high school.
Many of them were carrying signs for or against health care reform, he said. He noted that he personally had tangled with a Lyndon LaRouche supporter, who cussed him out in definitely non-Minnesota Nice terms.
Corner House Comments blogger Dale Moerke from Worthington posted an album of photos on Facebook that documents the LaRouchian's presence (he's the one with the Obama-with-a-Hitler-mustache sign, as well as the union members and health care reform supporters who had lined up to get a seat in the auditorium, but were turned away when the house filled.
I didn't make it in time to get into the forum so myself and two other UFCW 1161 members observed the crowd outside. It was generally calm with some initial anger from some on not getting in. There was one moment of tension when a LaRouche supporter arrived with a despicable sign. The officer with the Mankato Police Department handled it professionally, preventing a verbal dispute from escalating. A number of teamsters were observed engaging the opposition in conversation that was lively but peaceful.
People from both sides carried signs outside the high school. My caller estimated that the crowd outside was 60 percent for/40 percent against. After the event, I ran into Xavier Lopez-Ayala from Alliance for a Better Minnesota, who had also been unable to get a seat inside. He shared a similar estimate.
I hope that Moerke and Lopez-Ayala both post on their blogs about their experiences with the crowd outside. Update: Dale shares his observations in a new post at Corner House Comments.[end update]
The Washington Independent has more on the LaRouchian presence at town hall meetings.
Photo by Dale Moerke.