McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

February 21, 2010

Coburn takes aim during McAlester stop

U.S. Sen. Dr. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, traveled to McAlester on Friday and leveled verbal volleys at big government, the national debt, the media and most of all, Congress.

He also said what’s best for Oklahoma may not be what’s best for the nation.

With every seat filled in the main room of What About Bob’s restaurant, several of those attending had to stand against the wall as the senator unleashed a volley of criticism against Washington.

The congressman also took questions from those in attendance, which included Republicans, Democrats and members of the local TEA Party movement.

During the town hall session, Coburn addressed the upcoming meeting between Democrats and Republicans that the president requested to try and move the proposed health care overhaul forward.

“I told Barack Obama a year ago if he wants to solve health care, he has to get guys together and get in the middle,” Coburn said.

“They didn’t do that,” said Coburn — with the president and the Democrats basically saying it all had to be their way.

“They didn’t want to hear from us,” Coburn said. “Now that it didn’t pass, they want to hear from us.”

“Do they really want to hear?” Coburn asked, indicating he suspected the upcoming summit was mostly called for political purposes.

The reason the health care measure hasn’t passed isn’t because of partisan differences, but because of philosophical differences, Coburn said.

Coburn also addressed obtaining federal funds for Oklahoma and what constitutes an earmark.

“I don’t think Oklahoma should be healthy if the country isn’t healthy,” said Coburn.

Something might be beneficial to Oklahoma, but cost $50 million, he said.

That could lead to members of Congress saying “He got an earmark. Why don’t I get an earmark,” Coburn said.

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