US President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall meeting on health insurance in a hangar at Gallatin Field Airport in Belgrade, Montana.
President Obama is took his town hall lecture tour out west, where he held a "polite" question and answer session on his proposed health care overhaul in Montana.
Absent were the screaming and contentious scenes that have marked such gatherings across the country -- a phenomenon that Obama downplayed as a mere media fixation, saying "TV loves a ruckus."
The town hall in Bozeman, Mont. was the first of a Western swing blending town hall appearances and visits to national parks, where Obama will tell folks in Montana and Colorado, states heavily populated with freedom-loving, gun owning, civil libertarians that the nation's health care system needs a complete overhaul, not just a tune-up.
Obama will be in Grand Junction, Colo., Saturday for town hall meetings. The first family also plans to visit Yellowstone and Grand Canyon to highlight the country's national parks.
In recent weeks, town hall meetings held by members of Congress have turned antagonistic, with sharp questions and accusations that advocates on both sides of the issue are planting questioners and spreading misinformation. Obama held a meeting in New Hampshire earlier this week which was characterized by friendly questions.
Today's meeting was civil with many people thanking the president for coming to Montana before posing their questions. One woman praised Obama for bringing his "beautiful family" with him.