The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

July 2, 2012

It’s Just Politics: Caller sees Red, congressman agrees

Herald staff

MERCER COUNTY AREA — Is President Obama a Red?

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly didn’t explicitly say he was, but the Republican congressman agreed with a constituent who called the president a communist and encouraged him to spread the word.

 During a conference call conducted by Kelly on Friday, “Leo from Butler” said Obama was a communist and wanted to know why people didn’t “call him what he is.”

“I agree with you,” Kelly said, and then urged Leo and others listening not to be afraid “to talk about what you know is true.”

The exchange came in the context of a “tele-townhall” on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, a day after the Supreme Court found the individual mandate part of the law constitutional. Leo wasn’t the only caller to conjure up the specter of the hammer and sickle. Several others referred to the health care law as socialism.

For the record, Kelly didn’t use that term and never said Obama was a socialist, communist, Marxist or any other kind of collectivist.

Kelly represents the 3rd District, which includes most of Mercer County. He has been a vocal foe of the health care law and repeatedly vowed to work to repeal it during the conference call, reminding those listening in that the only way to accomplish that is to elect candidates on Nov. 6 who are dedicated to dismantling the law.

Kelly said the law was "one of the worst pieces of legislation ever written" and needs to be replaced with a "patient-centered" policy. During the call he expressed support for two of the health care law's most popular provisions: letting adult children stay on their parents' insurance policies and barring insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions.