Rep. Barney Frank, the brainy but abrasive chairman of the House banking committee, is facing a Democratic primary challenge from a woman who decided to take him on after they had a nasty exchange at a town hall meeting last year.
When Rachel Brown asked the Massachusetts congressman in 2009 about the "Nazi policy" of health care reform, an annoyed Frank shot back that talking with her was "like arguing with a dining room table." The 29-year-old Brown said the clash inspired her to run in the Sept. 14 Massachusetts primary, although she told the Associated Press
, "I didn't realize at the time that if you had a better idea, you should take their seat."
Frank, who heads the banking panel which crafted the Wall Street regulation overhaul, hasn't mellowed on Brown, who is a devotee of economist Lyndon LaRouche, the AP said. "I regard her as an example of the price you pay for free speech," he said. "I don't think she is very rational."
Brown said she wants an end to government bailouts of huge financial firms and also thinks the nation needs an economy "based not on only surviving for the moment, but a policy increasing physical production and allowing new discoveries to be made." That could include human colonization of the plant Mars, she said.
Frank, who is in his 15th term and was reelected in 2008 with 68 percent of the vote, is a heavy favorite in the primary.