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WASHINGTON -- The White House isn't concerned that increasingly vocal protests around the country are frustrating its push for health-care legislation.
Briefing reporters Tuesday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs suggested that the opposition is being organized by a small group seeking to create "manufactured anger."
"I hope people will take a jaundiced eye to what is clearly the AstroTurf nature of so-called grass-roots lobbying," Mr. Gibbs said.
In recent days, administration officials and Democratic members of Congress have been shouted down by angry protesters at town halls in Pennsylvania and Texas, an uproar that could grow when lawmakers return to their districts for the August recess.
Mr. Gibbs compared the protesters with the "Brooks Brothers Brigade" that he said appeared in Florida after the 2000 presidential election.
"I seem to see some commonality in who pops up at some of these things," he said, without elaborating. "You can see quite a bit of similarity between who shows up where."
While protests intensify, the White House also has stepped up its response. It reacted early Tuesday to one online video featuring clips of President Barack Obama appearing to suggest that his health-care plans would eventually replace the private insurance sector, producing its own video shooting down the claim. In the White House's video, its main health-care spokesperson, Linda Douglass, accuses opponents of taking old footage and using it out of context as a scare tactic.
"They simply cherry-pick and put it together, and make it sound like he's saying something that he didn't really say," Ms. Douglass says in the video, which can be seen on the White House's Web site.
Asked why the administration decided to respond, Mr. Gibbs said, "There's a tremendous amount of misinformation floating around on health care."
Any bets on this being the fuel that starts the fire of the next revolution?