April 6th, 2010
08:50 PM ET
4 years ago

Coburn defends Pelosi, takes swipe at FOX

Coburn warned citizens not to 'catch yourself being biased by Fox News.'
Coburn warned citizens not to 'catch yourself being biased by Fox News.'

(CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - a lightning rod among opponents of the recent health care legislation - is being defended by an unlikely source: Conservative Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.

Coburn is a fierce opponent of the health care bill but told participants at a recent town hall in his home state that Pelosi is a "nice lady" who deserves to be treated with civility.

"Come on now, she is a nice - how many of you all have met her?" Coburn said to groans from the crowd. "She is a nice person. Let me give you a little lesson here, I hope you will listen to me. Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn't mean they aren't a good person."

The comments, first reported by Capitol News Connection and recorded by local NPR station KGOU, strike a markedly different tone than that adopted by the Republican National Committee, which posted a large "Fire Pelosi" banner on its Web site last month and pictured the House Speaker amidst balls of fire.

Coburn spokesman John Hart confirmed the comments and said he believed they came during a March 31 event in Oklahoma City.

In the same town-hall, Coburn reiterated his opposition to the health care legislation but warned town-hall attendees to be wary of information they receive about the bill on 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," he 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."

The Oklahoma Republican and medical doctor also pushed back against one town-hall participant who said the legislation aimed to imprison people who don't buy health insurance.

"The intention is not to put any one in jail. That makes for good TV news on FOX but that isn't the intention," he said.

Coburn also advised his constituents to get their news from a broad range of sources: "Don't just watch Fox News or CNN, watch them both," he said. "I read two papers a day - the New York times, the Washington Post, and in between the Wall Street Journal. I get a perspective."


Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • Tom Coburn
soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. Repugnants are the US Taliban

    Finally a Republican who is honest and has integrity and honor. I commend Senator Coburn for being an outstanding statesman rather than a dirt digging politician. I may not agree with him on issues but if we had more like him in both houses of Congress perhaps we could get something done and move this country forward instead of constantly dealing with lies, halftruths and attacks of a personal nature. Oklahoma should be proud of Senator Coburn and send him back when he comes up for reelection. There are not very many Republicans of this caliber which is a true shame, they are more of a party of obstructionism and foul name calling.

    April 6, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. colirob

    Tom Coburn! You sir, get a tip of my hat.

    April 6, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Stortz

    If Dr. Colburn were to read one of the State's two news papers he would better understand why his constituents have such biased opinions, and ZERO Facts!

    April 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Steve From NH

    THANK YOU SENATOR COBURN!!!!!!
    Need more like you, no matter the party.....

    April 6, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Dave Phillips

    Good! It's time that these dirt bag Republican politicians start to see the awful fruits of Fox News is landing right at their feet.

    April 6, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Pat F

    I defy you to find a SINGLE DEMOCRAT who has ever said the same. The Democratic party is founded on a pathetic belief in its own moral and intellectual superiority. I know – I am a recovering Democrat. They look so darn silly from the outside – like the Emperor who doesn't know he is buck-naked!

    April 6, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Dale Melton

    Now that's a true American...

    April 6, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. David in Houston

    This is a refreshing turn, Mr. Coburn. Well said.

    April 6, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. Jojo

    And, Obama is worthy as well – right. She may be a nice woman but she doesn't have the good of the country as her priority. I think she is good enough to vote out the next election.

    April 6, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. anonymous

    She does not need defending. She can just get on her broom and get her wand and put an evil spell on us.... Oh wait she already did

    April 6, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    how about if we see a headline that a democrat criticizes CNN.

    Of course your extreme left wing agenda would never allow that.

    April 6, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. alek

    I wish I could vote this guy in for President.

    April 6, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. chris24

    wow. a kind comment on a opposing viewpoint.

    civility is a great gift to this country. I hope it
    spreads like wildfire in washington, but, i
    don't have my hopes up.

    April 6, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Nice

    I actually have to admit that this appears to be a rare instance of civility in politics. I really hope that this guy doesn't get torched by the left or the right for these comments.

    April 6, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. Bill

    A sensible Republican?!?!

    I thought the party was being purged of anyone that had any common sense. We rarely hear from Colin Powell, David Frum was just terminated from his conservative think tank job, and several many Republicans are scared to speak out against self-serving, divisive pundits like Limgaugh and Beck.

    He'll either be bashed and sidelined in the near future OR conservatives are finally opening their eyes.

    April 6, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. The GOP wants to take our country backwards

    I am no fan of Coburn at all, but he is sounding very level-headed here. Even Republicans know that Fox is very biased, it is interesting to hear Coburn admit it.

    April 6, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. shadysider

    Well it's only a matter of time before Coburn gets attacked and dismissed by the right wing. He'll have a lot to talk about with Colin Powell, David Frum, William Buckley's son, and everyone else who doesn't agree with the purity test/pledge/resolution. What the Republican Party needs to understand is that the youth of their party, moderates, and independents who are all fiscally minded, also don't care at all about, and even disagree with the socially conservative base of the Republican Party. While Republicans may win a few elections due to extraneous issues such as the current fiscal crises (brought on by both parties and the resistance to reform); they are on the road to obscurity if they don't concentrate on fiscal issues, continue to play shills for corporations and keep shouting the intellectually dishonest rhetoric, and only listen to the base of their party. The base will always vote Republican. If they want to win elections and do what's right for the country they'll change, otherwise they will drift into the oblivion of being a regional party.

    April 6, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. moderate in NE

    Two words Coburn - you ROCK!! I am so tired of the politics of the last 10 or so years. Our Country is failing because we have become oppositional to each other in our two party system. I have been getting so very, very tired with our politics that I have begun to withdraw. If only we could become more civilized with each other and at least respect the person if not the message. Thank you again for this now rare demonstration of statesmenship. Get me a donation envelop Coburn and the check is in the mail to support you.

    April 6, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. SAM DACOSTA

    A good show of civility between opposing members. I have allot more respect for the Conservative Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. If all members would treat each other with this kind of civility then I'm sure allot more could be done for the American people.

    April 6, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Gary Lindsay

    What kind of republican is this?

    April 6, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Harold Buntino

    Conservative Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn is against the
    new Health Care Bill. I wonder if he voted for the war in
    Iraq?

    April 6, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Democraps stick together, defend each other and fight as ONE.
    the GOPers here in Washington will eat alive for dinner, spit you out and have you again for breakfast if you blink too many times.

    I loooove Nancy Pelosi. Out of the whole lot of you she was the only one with enough chutzpah to stand by the newly elected President and give him her support and guidance. The rest of the Democraps for the most part were peeking from behind the curtain lest they got hit with a tea bag!

    April 6, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. GVP

    "They just don't know what they don't know." If I stuck my head in the sand I wouldn't hear anything or know anything either. Read this–We don't like you, we don't like legislation stuffed down our throats and we don't like Nancy Pelosi. No, I have never met her, but I have never met Adolf Hitler, but I do know he was a bad man. Don't like that comparison? How about Bernie MaddofF/ I have never met him and I know he is a bad man as well.

    April 6, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. j

    Well, at least that sounds honest and coming from a Conservative, that's a rare treat. It's fine to be passionate about what you believe in so long as you can have an honest debate AND be prepared to compromise so that progress can be attained. What the Republicans, tea baggers, and Fox noise have been doing up till now has not been honest. It's been down right deceitful.

    April 6, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Steve Schwendeman

    Amen! We need to fight ignorance, intolerance, and arrogance, particularly in the Republican Party!

    April 6, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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