Bart Stupak: People still ‘b*tch me out’ in airports for helping pass health care

By Sahil Kapur
Thursday, March 24, 2011 10:35 EDT
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Retired Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) said in an interview that he still gets “accosted” and “bitch[ed] out” in airports for his role in helping pass health care reform one year ago in the final stretch.

“I still get accosted,” Stupak told The Atlantic‘s Chris Good. “It’s been amazing to me how many people come up and say, ‘I should know you.’ And I’ll say, ‘Where are you from?’ They’ll say, ‘Oklahoma.’ And I’ll say, ‘Eh, you probably don’t know me then.’ And they’ll say, ‘Yes, I should.’ And someone else will say who I am. And someone will come out and just bitch me out.”

But it’s not all bad, added the Blue Dog Democrat, who served since 1993 and left the House this January: “Others will come up and shake my hand and say ‘congratulations’ or something, ‘we needed it.’”

Stupak nearly derailed the sweeping measure by threatening to sway a key group of lawmakers to strike it down if the anti-abortion language wasn’t beefed up. But after extracting an executive order reaffirming that the law would prohibit federal funds from being used for abortions, Stupak rallied his anti-abortion colleagues in favor of it. Those final few votes are believed to have pushed the bill over the top.

In the weeks that followed, Stupak received a slew of hateful emails and some death threats. By the time of the law’s one year anniversary Wednesday, some of that anger apparently still hadn’t subsided.

“It’s not unusual that when I go through an airport–and I go back and forth every week–that I will get at least one person cussing me out,” Stupak confessed in the Atlantic interview.

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