Witnesses tell TPM that Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) laughed when an elderly man at his town hall meeting this week asked “Who’s gonna shoot Obama?”
Mark Farmer of Winterville, Georgia went to the meeting on Tuesday to ask a question about Social Security reform, and said in an e-mail to TPM he was “shocked by the first question and disgusted by the audience response.”
“I was gravely disappointed in the response of a U.S. Congressman who also laughed and then made no effort to correct the questioner on what constitutes proper behavior or to in any way distance himself from such hate filled language,” Farmer wrote.
Reporter Blake Aued, who was at the town hall and originally reported on the incident confirmed to TPM that Broun was “chuckling a little bit.”
Aued described the person who asked the question as “some old man” who “apparently was a huge fan” and had driven 75 miles to get to the meeting.
After laughing at the question, Broun reportedly said “there’s a lot of frustration with this president.”
“We’re going to have an election next year,” Broun said. “Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller… who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
A Secret Service spokesman tells Greg Sargent that the agency was aware of the incident, had taken appropriate steps, and now consider it a closed matter. A law enforcement source told Sargent that the Secret Service interviewed the person who made the comments who now regrets making a bad joke.
“In this case this was poor taste,” the source told Sargent. “The person realized that.”
I’ve asked a spokesman for Broun if that was an accurate account of the congressman’s reaction and they said they’ll get back to me shortly.
Meanwhile, Broun hosted another town hall meeting last night, where he was cheered for cutting off funding to NPR and PBS as well as Planned Parenthood and said illegal immigrants need to be treated as criminals.
[Ed. note: This story has been updated.]
Late Update: Broun’s office issued a statement calling the question “abhorrent.”