There’s been a lot of shade thrown on reports that the protesters showing up at Republican lawmakers’ town halls have been organized, but a leaked audio tape may flip the script on all of that.
CNN opinion commentator Errol Louis has called the GOP “delusion[al]” if some Congressional representatives believe that astroturf protesters have been organized to go to town halls to defend Obamacare and other issues at these meetings.
Politifact has “fact checked” the claim that town hall protesters have been paid and found “no evidence.”
And now this.
KPEL Radio in Lafayette, Louisiana, received an audio tape of an organizational meeting by town hall protest organizers days before a town hall meeting in Breaux Bridge:
The unidentified voices on the tape organized the protesters into two teams.
As you can hear on the recording above, the “outside team” would be on stand-by to determine which door, in this case, Senator Bill Cassidy would enter and exit, and spend time “dominating the media conversation outside the hall.”
This is what the “outside team” looked like at Cassidy’s town hall in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, on Friday:
The Daily Caller reports that the “inside team” also had special marching orders:
The activists split up into an “inside team” — tasked with occupying “as many seats as we can” and an “outside team,” whose job was to “give [the media] the coverage they want” before joining the others inside. Activists were instructed to dress like conservatives and leave at home “any signifier that you’re a liberal” in order to blend in with constituents.
Teams were encouraged to give TV news crews the images and shots the protesters wanted to convey:
“Because camera people are looking for some b-roll and some quotes. B-roll meaning, ‘ahhhhhh’ and wave signs and quotes meaning, ‘we think it’s terrible.’ Then they’re moving on to the next story.
We make sure we give them the coverage they wanted then everyone breaks and we go inside.”
The “inside team” made their voices heard at the 29:30 mark
The Daily Caller reports that demonstrators were coached to dress “like students, like moms and conservatives.”
A female voice told the soon-to-be protesters where to sit:
“Inside people, I have been told by Indivisible and other sources that we don't want to sit all together. Spread throughout the audience. Some people might want to get in the front row, but we want to spread throughout the audience.”
The male coach told those at the pre-town hall meeting that they’d have to crowd out the local people:
“Game plan number one is we want to fill as many seats as we can, right if it’s all of us in there and the poor people of Breaux Bridge are sitting behind us, tough luck for them (laughs).
If we can arrange it so he doesn’t get one sympathetic question, then great! That only magnifies our impact."
Compared to Cassidy’s town hall in Metairie, the Breaux Bridge meeting seemed low key:
The Washington Free Beacon reported that protesters in Metairie were so fired up that they even booed the opening prayer:
Nola.com created a ‘highlight’ reel of the protesters:
On the tape, the male coach told the would-be protesters in Breaux Bridge that the end game would be to convince the senator — and the media — that large numbers of people love Obamacare:
“[When the] town hall meeting ends, we have dominated the question and answer on the inside, we have dominated the media outside, right? Our numbers outside show that we have large numbers of people who disagree with the Trump agenda and want Cassidy to represent our differences in Washington. And inside we have represented to him we want want him to stop walking in lock step with Trump and start thinking about the effects of his health care ideas on the people of Louisiana.
So, we’ve dominated this meeting at both ends. Then, town hall ends, we meet at the rally point and conduct a quick ‘AAR’ (giggles from him and audience)—an after-action-review."
The man on the tape said that they did an after-action report to learn what will work better for “the next time.”