Conservative GOP Sen. Tom Coburn tweaked Fox News for its “fair and balanced” coverage Tuesday while praising Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – a surprising stance for a physician who was one of the staunchest opponents of Obamacare.
In remarks taped at a townhall meeting by KGOU Radio, the Oklahoma Republican said he is "180 degrees in opposition" to Pelosi but that "she is a nice lady."
That comment drew boos and jeers from the crowd, but Coburn asked the crowd for calm and spoke about civility, according to The Hill.
“Come on now. She is nice — how many of you all have met her? She’s a nice person,” Coburn said. "Let me give you a little lesson here. I hope you will listen to me. Just because somebody disagrees with you don’t [sic] mean they’re not a good person. And i want to tell you, I've been in the Senate for five years and I’ve taken a lot of that, because I’ve been on the small side — both in the Republican Party and the Democrat Party."
The Oklahoma senator is seen by many as a divisive figure.
A physician known as "Dr. No" for his penchant to stop the legislative process with skillful parliamentary moves, Coburn has been in the spotlight the last few weeks for stalling an unemployment benefits extension. Because of that, 200,000 unemployed people lost their federal assistance starting Monday. But Coburn says he wants the benefits package funded before it passes.
After an audience member suggested that the government could jail people for not buying health insurance under the new healthcare law, Coburn said "that makes for good TV news on Fox but that isn’t the intention."
The senator continued, telling the mostly conservative crowd not to be fooled by the "biased" information from Fox News.
"What we have to have is make sure we have a debate in this country so that you can see what’s going on and make a determination yourself,” Coburn said. "So don’t catch yourself being biased by Fox News that somebody is no good. The people in Washington are good. They just don’t know what they don’t know."
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