On March 20, Rep. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat, first told reporters that health care protesters outside the Capitol hurled racial slurs at fellow Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) member Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia. Mr. Carson came off the House floor and told reporters his story about health care protesters hurling racial slurs during their walk from the Cannon Building to the chambers.
While we were interviewing Mr. Carson, Lauren Victoria, a freelance journalist and “unofficial” CBC blogger, saw us talking to the Indiana Democrat:
Below is the transcript of the interview a few reporters (including myself) had with Mr. Carson (AUDIO):
REP. CARSON:John Lewis…n - word, n - word at least 15 times…hundreds of people, and Capitol Police finally became aware and started protecting us. I want to know…those people who had cameras. I would love to get the actual [video].
REPORTER: When did this happen…just now….right before votes?
REP. CARSON: Just now.
PICKET: What exactly happened? I’m sorry. I came in late here.
REPORTER: Outside of this building?
REP. CARSON: Cannon….coming out with John Lewis out of the elevator with his chief of staff, and it was just the three of us walking down the steps — ‘kill the bill’, ‘kill the bill’…n - word fifteen times.
REPORTER: How many people were saying it?
REP. CARSON: Maybe out of…how many people are out there?…four hundred? Maybe fifteen people about fifteen times.
REPORTER: What were they saying? Just ‘kill the bill’?
REP. CARSON: ‘kill the bill’ and then the n - word (imitates crowd yelling racial slur) Lewis, his chief of staff, and myself (a former cop) I’m closer to Lewis… [we were] very stoic, looked straight forward, and Capitol Police got the idea. They started surrounding us. It was like a page out of a time machine.
PICKET: What are your thoughts on the crowd outside in general?
REP. CARSON: It’s America. Welcome to America.
REPORTER: I’m afraid I don’t know who you are.
REP. CARSON: Congressman Andre Carson…Indianapolis, Indiana seventh Congressional district—myself John Lewis and his chief of staff. It was unbelievable.
REPORTER2: Coming out of Cannon?
REP. CARSON: Yeah, I expected rocks to come. I mean…I’m walking with John Lewis who walked with MLK. It was bizarre, but he’s been there done that.
PICKET: You were scared of the crowd?
REP. CARSON: Me? No, I’m a former cop, but I became protective of Congressman Lewis, and a person said, ‘I’m being reminded of another time’ as we’re walking. It was like an old sage. For him to say that is (inaudible) been there done that. A young 35 year old like myself, I’m being protective of the older sage along with this chief of staff. We kept walking. The walk usually takes a couple of minutes. It felt like ten minutes.
PICKET: Do you think the people outside are generally dangerous or no?
REP. CARSON: Oh absolutely. I worked in homeland security. I’m from intelligence, and I’ll tell you, one of the largest threats to our internal security…I mean terrorism has an Islamic face, but it really comes from racial supremacist groups. (inaudible) Its the kind of thing we keep a threat assessment on record [for].
PICKET: From groups like this?
REP. CARSON: Oh absolutely.
REPORTER: Was there any physical? Did they touch? Did they push? No one threw anything?
REP. CARSON: No, no, no. I heard one ‘go Carson’—obviously a Hooiser. It made me feel a little better, but then the Capitol Police finally got the idea—remember, it was just the three of us…my police instinct kicked in, (inaudible) and they got the idea.
As of now, no audio or video have been produced to confirm Mr. Carson’s claim.