Tea Party Debate Gets Weird as Audience Cheers Idea of Uninsured Man Dying (VIDEO)
When CNN decided to name its second Republican Party debate the Tea Party Debate, you just knew things were bound to get weird. But in an evening that featured ten minutes worth of heated discussion about the HPV vaccine as the vultures circled newly-crowned frontrunner Rick Perry, one unsettling incident stood out out as the signature moment of the evening. Televised debates rarely veer into such dramatic -- and unsettling -- territory.
CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer posed a hypothetical question about health care to libertarian Texas Congressman Ron Paul: say a 30-year-old man gets struck with a catastrophic illness, but has made the choice to not buy healthcare. Who should pay for his care, if he's, say, in a coma?
Harking back to his campaign's themes of personal responsibility and minimal government, Paul started to answer that the man had made a choice to go without healthcare, and it wasn't society's responsibility to foot the bill. "That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody" is the basis of a "welfare state," he said, drawing big applause from the crowd.
"But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?" asked Blitzer.
And that's when a significantly smaller portion of the audience started clapping and yelling, "Yeah!" It was hard to tell if it was just a few, very loud people who were rooting for this hypothetical man to die, or a wider portion of the audience, but it was a strange, chilling moment nonetheless. Paul went on to say no, the man should not be left to die, expressing confidence that he would be saved by some combination of volunteerism, churches contributing to the man's care and hospitals treating people for free. But the optics, and audio, of the moment overrode anything else he said.
Check out the video after the jump, and tell us what you think the moment means.