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

Coburn defends Pelosi, takes swipe at FOX

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/13/art.coburn0813.gi.jpg caption="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. Russ

    As a democrat, your perspective is much appreciated and it's nice to see that there are Republicans out there that have some common sense. However, since I have a sister that has been out of work for over a year, and has applied to literally hundreds of jobs with no luck, mainly because she is not bi-lingual, it would be appreaciated if you took a second look at extending the unemployment benefits. People are hurting out there for no fault of their own.

    April 6, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |

    A breath of fresh air from a Republican hack. Let's all turn down the rhetoric and look at facts even if/when we disagree, and please, do so respectfully, not as Fox news does. Good call, Colburn. I'd still not vote for you if i lived in Oklahoma.

    April 6, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. tplatz1

    What???? Something is NOT right here!!
    Fox will have him saying I sorry real soon. Remember Fox and Limbaugh control the republicans not the other way around.

    April 6, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. ljdavid56

    OMG! A Republcan actually said something that is civilized and makes sense! Now the sky is falling.

    April 6, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. James

    Hey, I've seen this headline before; a Republican that hopes for mutual respect and civility. Unfortunately, those in the Faux Media and their Tea Bagging buddies aren't interested in either. Wait for it, Representative Coburn will be pushed into retracting or "clarifying" his well-intentioned comments in ...3 ... 2... 1.

    April 6, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    "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??? I am LOST for WORDS!!!! Could it be this man is trying to win over a few Democrats????...................NOT!!

    Why now? Why couldn't it be CIVIL all along? Maybe they are waking up and SMELLING the COFFEE that's brewing and getting STRONG!!! Civility is a word I am hearing more and more now and I wonder who started it??? It wasn't a TEA BAG!!!

    April 6, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Testify

    Now that is the type of Republican politician that is going outside of the box when it comes to fox news. Good for him. Discuss facts and debate them not misled information.

    April 6, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Derek

    Its nice to see someone who isn't yelling that democrats are nazi communist socialist aliens who want my guns

    April 6, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. DJ in TX

    Wow. Finally someone with some sense. I applaud the Senator. He's absolutely right. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing and not seeing eye to eye on the issues. But don't try to belittle people. Don't get your information from one source only, and then take that as gospel. I'm like Senator Coburn. I read CNN, Foxnews, WSJ and others so I can see all sides, then I form my own opinion, not guided by any one news outlet, but my own value and belief system. Just because you don't agree with someone, does not make them a bad person. All GOP nor Dem congressman/congresswoman are not bad people. They may do bad things:-).

    Bravo Senator Coburn. BTW – I disagree with you on most issues"-)

    April 6, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. MDN

    Finally a Republican that is not afraid to break ranks with Rush, Bill-O, and Hannity, and call it as he sees it. Maybe the republican party has some credible people after all. This is encouraging.

    April 6, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Ben Murphy

    So smart. This is how I expect all of Washington to behave, Senator Coburn is setting a good example.

    April 6, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. kev49426

    Tom, she is a manipulator and a liar. She may be a nice liar but a liar none the less. She is in no small part a major force for dismantling 200+ years of self reliance, history and freedom and she and her cronies are leading the country to bankruptcy. I read The Boston Globe, Boston herald, CNN, Fox News, Politico and several liberal blogs, so I think I have a pretty clear picture of how these organizations report (or DON'T report) stories. She is a dangerous woman who is taking this country in a socialist direction and she should absolutely be unseated. I would respectfully suggest that you not call out the ONLY voice that considers a conservative point of view as well in it's reporting. I can guarantee you those other rags you read don't fairly print stories except from their liberal point of view. Grow some stones and don't sleep with the enemy...and they made themselves that when they went against the will of the people and would consider nothing the Repubs wanted. Get a grip.

    April 6, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. mark in atlanta

    I don't think much of many of Mr. Coburn's policy positions, but I applaud his civility and statesmanship on this one.

    April 6, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Gloria

    Finally a sensible republican who knows the truth about FOX news.

    April 6, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Debate can be civil

    Nice to see that there are some bright politicians out there. We can disagree with someone, but we should not wish them harm. Whether you are in favor or not of the bill, you should be more civil towards those who disagree. We are not longer in pre-school, we need to be responsible adults capable of making our arguments in a professional manner and not through childish behavior. I for one commend Senator Coburn.

    April 6, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Profile in courage

    Thanks Tom! We need more people like him standing up to the bullying of crowds & the hysteria of Fox News (& sometimes, MSNBC & CNN). I admire him for not pandering to his audience. Good on ya!

    April 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Bertina

    I feel sorry for him, he is going to be called a liberal by whack jobs in the Republican party. Sad.

    April 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. David

    I disagree with Coburn on about 90 % of everything he says . This is part of the 10 % I do agree with. There needs to be more honest debate. I do not think that all people on the right have been dishonest and I guess Sen Coburn agree's that Fox News is in the dishonest group

    April 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Mark S.

    The last paragraph is the difference between you, Tom, and the average teapartier-birther who gets all of his news from Fox. You can read...

    April 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. Liberal Minded Smarty

    OMG, an honest Republican!

    April 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. John

    I don't agree with this man on most things but he right on this one too many folks just get all their information from one or two bias sources such as FOX which is totally bias or from the right wing radio nut jobs (who need to attack to make a profit) or follow no nothing Palin. People are not getting the facts to make up thier own mind. I would ad C-SPAN to his list as a lot of the time you can view news without the filter of either side..

    April 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Billy J..Texas..

    How refreshing. I hope both sides are taking notes.

    April 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Jake

    Tom Coburn just got my vote. A Republican being civil, making a sound argument and standing up to Fox News, that is the type of politician we need.

    April 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. Laurie

    FINALLY, someone with some perspective and reason! Always vilifying and mischaracterizing the opposition's views gets the country nowhere! I have never understood watching a show with only one perspective. It's like hearing only one side in a court case – of, course you think the prosecution is right, that is maybe until you hear the defense's side. Also, I have never understood why anyone would want to hear what the likes of Glen Beck or Rachel Madow say with regard to certain issues like, for instance, global warming. They aren't experts. Wouldn't you rather watch a show with real experts on an issue with differing opinions so you could hear both sides and decide for yourself? Anyway, thanks to Senator Coburn.

    April 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. Steve

    I'm impressed! It's good to see that there's a Republican out there who is civil and honest. Too bad I can't vote for him. I'd probably consider it, especially if his view of the issues meshed fairly well with mine.

    April 6, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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