Congressman Apologizes to Constituent He Accused of Being an Imposter at Town Hall Meeting
August 27, 2009 - 2:03 PMA man accused of being an imposter by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) at a town hall meeting in Reston, Va., said he thinks he was "profiled" by the congressman as an opponent of the Democrats' health care reform bill but also said he accepted Moran's apology.
Nonetheless, the man says he accepts the apology Moran offered him after the congressman examined his identification and conceded he was in fact who he said he was.
“I did accept his apology because I am a gentleman and I didn’t want to cause anymore pain to anybody in that audience, but to be quite candid with you I was profiled,” Roland Tulino told CNSNews.com, referring to the congressman's behavior at the Aug. 25 town hall meeting that featured Moran and former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean. The entire incident was videotaped by CNSNews.com.
Those attending the town hall meeting who wanted to ask questions were required to write their name, hometown and question on a file card and then put the file card in a cardboard box.
During the meeting, Moran was handed the card with Tulino's name on it and called for him to ask his question. When Tulino presented himself, Moran told him: "You're not Roland Tulino. Sir, would you please go sit down. Please, go sit down."
Tulino then showed Moran his identification and only then did Moran let him ask his question.
After Tulino asked a question about why tort reform wasn't included in the health care bill, which Howard Dean answered by saying that the Democrats in Congress were leery of "taking on" the trial lawyers, Moran apologized for doubting that Tulino was Tulino.
"Before we go any further, where is Mr. Tulino?" said Moran. "Okay. Mr. Tulino, because I noticed you gesturing and yelling, I suspected you were not who you are. The fact is that you were. So, I want to apologize for doubting that you were."
Tulino said he believes this statement is evidence that Moran profiled him.
“I had gone near the speaker [Moran] with my dissent about how he would want to silence people who are in opposition, but the others he didn’t silence on his side and he saw me from the audience so he profiled me,” Tulino told CNSNews.com.
“In other words, I was against him, and he even said it: You were quite animated and this and that, so you didn’t belong in the district. I don’t understand that,” he said.
Tulino, who lives in Reston, Va., and is one of Moran’s constituents, said he was singled out by the congressman even though there were many town hall attendees whom he believes were not residents of Moran’s district.
“First of all, on his Web site, he said you have to be in the district to get in, and he had hundreds, thousands, or 2,000 people of his own that weren’t from the district there,” said Tulino.
“They didn’t even check them when they came in,” said Tulino. “I was the only one that he profiled. He had no problems with the ones that were on his side to ask them where they were from or to show their identity. I did take offense to that. That wasn’t right.”
Tulino, 64, is a retired package-manufacturing business owner who moved to Virginia a year-and-a-half ago from New Jersey, where his business was located. He told CNSNews.com that his question to Moran was prompted by his concern with the wasteful spending involved with tort lawsuits against medical and health care providers.
“We’re wasting an awful lot of money on doctors doing exams to protect themselves against lawsuits, frivolous lawsuits by attorneys and the rewards that are given sometimes are absurd versus the damages done to the patients,” said Tulino.
“So if you eliminated all that cost, to me that’s an area where nobody loses. Every American wins except for the trial lawyers,” he said.
Tulino said he supports health care reform but disagrees with Moran’s proposals on the issue.
“I’m a big advocate of health care reform [but] I’m not in favor Dr. [Howard] Dean’s and my congressman’s idea of health care reform,” Tulino told CNSNews.com.