The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 21, 2014

Reporter's notebook: Ag gathering laugh draws attention


“I am outraged that Tim Walz believes the failed roll out of Obamacare is a laughing matter,” Benson said. “Adding insult to injury, Tim Walz’s laughter in reaction to questions about the failure of Obamacare’s roll out shows just how out of touch he is with the pain being felt by the people of southern Minnesota.”

Benson said he will prioritize overturning the Affordable Care Act if elected.

Hagedorn similarly accused Walz of avoiding the question. He also noted he held an event criticizing the law in Rochester this week.

In response to the nationwide attention, KEYC released a large clarification statement Friday to address concern that its video had been “taken out of context to unfairly characterize that day's conversation.”

“Anyone in attendance, or watching the news story on our air or website, knows that a certain amount of laughter came first from the audience, then the three panel members,” said KEYC News Director Dan Ruiter. “The story accused all three panel members of laughing at someone else's suffering. It also accused all three panel members of ducking the question. Anyone in attendance that day, or watching the story in its entirety that evening, knows that nothing could be further from the truth.”

Walz spokesman Tony Ufkin said the characterization that Walz laughed at the problems with the law was unfair and completely inaccurate.

"The KEYC clarification speaks for itself. The Congressman always shows concern for constituents and answers their questions, as he did in this case. He also met with the individual after the event to offer his assistance. The Congressman has always said health care reform is a journey, not a destination. But let’s not pretend that the old system was a safe harbor," Ufkin said in a statement.

Peterson's office did not return calls for comment.

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