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Opinion: Man bites off man’s finger at Obama healthcare rally

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Here’s a weird little piece of late-breaking news about the nation’s healthcare reform debate:

A 65-year-old man at a Wednesday night California rally supporting President Obama’s embattled reform ideas had a finger bitten off during a scuffle with anti-reform protesters.

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Ventura County sheriff’s deputies were called to Lynn Road and Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks near Los Angeles, according to TV station KTLA.

There, an estimated 100 supporters of healthcare reform affiliated with MoveOn.org had gathered as part of a nationwide array of pre-Labor Day rallies to attract attention in support of Obama’s reform plans currently before Congress.

Instead, the rally attracted the attention of a group of anti-healthcare-reform protesters across the street.

Initial police reports say that one pro-protester moved into the group of anti-protesters.

Some angry words were exchanged.

One protester punched another, a witness told KTLA.

A scuffle ensued. And the pro-protester had a finger bitten off. (Updated at 8:18 a.m.: Conflicting later reports indicate the biter was a healthcare proponent and the now nine-fingered man an opponent.)

The injured man walked to Los Robles Hospital with his finger for, well, healthcare.

Sheriff’s investigators were, well, investigating. Neither the biter nor the bitee were identified by midnight Pacific time.

(Updated at 12:52 a.m.: Karoli over at DrumsnWhistles has an eyewitness account that differs from the KTLA version, involving two men behaving ‘quite badly.’)

-- Andrew Malcolm

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