Cohen addresses constituents at annual town hall meeting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cohen addresses constituents at annual town hall meeting

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - On the heels of some controversial remarks on the U.S. House floor, Congressman Steve Cohen held his annual town hall meeting in Memphis Monday.

Cohen recently apologized for the House floor comments, comparing the Republican message against health reform to Nazi propaganda, but spent a big part of his town hall meeting bashing Republican Party tactics.

While answering questions to veterans complaining of denied care by the VA Hospital in Memphis, Cohen warned them Republicans are planning cuts.

"The 111th Congress did more for veterans than any other Congress in American history," he said. "We plan on preserving veterans health benefits in the 112th against an onslaught that's coming from the other side that doesn't want that to happen."

All the while, Cohen's former Republican challenger, Charlotte Bergmann, stood in front of him, recording the meeting with her cell phone camera.

Earlier this month, after a gunman nearly took the life of Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords, Cohen also made local headlines when he said Tea Party propaganda and unchecked media reports have the power to incite unstable people.

Monday, after an attendee asked why it was so hard to get through all the security to attend his town hall, Cohen spoke on unreliable media reporting

"That's what breeds the type of people who killed the two deputies in West Memphis, the Oklahoma City bombing, and where the man flew his airplane into the IRS center. So we have to have security, and it's a shame," he said.

An attendee at the town hall also asked about the meaning of the REINS Act, which would require that Congress take an up-or-down vote on every new major rule.

"That is something the Republicans have come up with to thwart the president on health care, on financial services reform, and other areas like that," he said.

Bergmann, a Tea Party member, smiled as Cohen answered the question, but never asked a question herself during the hour-long question and answer session.  She told reporters she was there to collect information.     

Cohen never acknowledged her presence.

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