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. patriot

    Congratulations to Rep. Coburn for finding his conscience. Better put it back in the closet if he wants to stay a Republican.

    How long before Boss Limbaugh buries this guy for his temporary bout of honesty?

    April 6, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. SocialismBad

    Oh come on Coburn! People are well aware of all the media bias out there. Fox News just gives voice to the people that CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC and ABC refuse to air so that people get the "perspective" you advocate.

    Fox News presents people from BOTH sides of the issue. The looney left just can't stand the fact that Fox News is so successful because they present BOTH sides, not just the looney left perspective that ALL the others ram down peoples throat.

    And then he says... "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.

    Of course that is not the INTENT! But when you FORCE people to BUY a product, then FINE THEM when they don't, what will be the next step if they refuse to buy and/or pay the fine??? This whole aspect of this "reform" is pure thuggery and unconstitutional. If it is not found unconstitutional then our democracy has come to an end. There will be NO LIMITS on what the governemnt can force upon the people. Our founding fathers are all rolling over in their gaves.

    April 6, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Really?

    "...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."

    Finally, words of wisdom from a Republican (and it goes both ways)!!

    April 6, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Dave_in_AK

    Thank you, Tom Coburn, for taking the high road. As a staunch nonpartisan, I get sick of the demonization that both sides routinely fling at each other. And partisan voters are, if anything, worse than those they support and/or oppose.

    I don't like with the health care bill either, but that doesn't make me hate the president or members of congress. It just means I disagree with them. They are honestly attempting to address a very real problem, and while I think they have gone about it poorly, I do believe their intentions are good. So I'll vote against them because I think they are wrong, not because I think they are evil.

    April 6, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Gbenga

    It's nice to see that "someone" in Washington sees that we can disagree without being disagreeable.

    April 6, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. tommyboy

    just pass the un-employment bill for those folks! you should know you're no Goods!

    April 6, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. vlw

    this is scary. adult behavior and a sensible thought. he's done.....

    April 6, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Tom

    Nice Lady? Are you kidding me? Nice Lady? She has vilified too many people and organizations to count. He may know her personally, but I know her words. She is mean spirited, cold, and inherently dishonest. I could spend ten minutes on this posting proving my point, but it isn't worth the time. However, I do find her strangely attractive 🙂

    April 6, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. john v

    Wait- Is this guy thinking on his own? What a maverick!

    April 6, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    hmmm now that coburn is solely responsible for keeping thousands of Americans from getting unemployment benefits it's no wonder he's thring to play nice

    April 6, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Dallas Peach

    It's about time that someone stood up for what is right. People are so in a hurry to lambast each other. We should all take Coburn's advice and obtain your news from a "broad range of sources". At the end of the day, our legislators' fratinize with one another all the time at parties, lunch, etc. The only snipets we see in the news and social media is the headlines and sensationalism that makes these agencies money. Try to think out of the "media" box sometimes. Healthcare will even benefit his family, and everyone's family.

    April 6, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. BobH

    Though I disagree with his positions, Sen. Coburn does have some class.

    April 6, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. vicky from Milwaukee

    Hmmmm. Voice of reason from the right. The end of the world as we know it.

    April 6, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. J. Rolando Flores

    Thank you senator Coburn for bringing some civic decorum. I AM a registered republican who feels disillusioned with my party and out of tune with the extreme conservative right. I find the anger of the Limbaughs and the Hannitys counterproductive. I often get a response that seeks to justify this anger by pointing similar attitudes among the liberal democrats. The premise does not work.
    I am a Nurse Practitioner, like you, I feel that I possess a unique perspective that allows me to have an informed opinion not based on factoids fed by the left or the right media voices. Although I differ with you in terms of your position regarding health care, You sir, have earned my respect and appreciation.

    April 6, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Justin

    I find his remarks very refreshing. Nice to see an adult republican.

    April 6, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. john hughes

    Dr. Coburns statment is the first positive voice I have heard from a Rep. in the past year. The Rep. party needs more voices like his if they are to survive in this party of no.

    April 6, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |

    A republican who is telling the truth about Fix News? I wonder how long it will take Fix News to start attacking Sen. Coburn? Let's start a pool.

    April 6, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Mark

    Could Coburn be the ONLY DECENT REPUBLICAN? Nah.

    April 6, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Independent One

    Thank YOU SIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Most Americans really WANT a civil two or three party political system...NOT a bunch of radical loonies running around like crazy people

    April 6, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Fitz In Texas

    Tom Coburn seems to be a bit confused so we'll help him out:

    DEFINITION of "nice".....
    pleasing; agreeable; delightful: a nice visit.
    amiably pleasant; kind:...
    Guess what Tom Coburn, "nice" doesn't come to mind to millions when describing Nancy Pelosi.

    April 6, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. illthoughts

    It's about time someone stood up for civility. Most republicans I speak with only go to 1 source and that's Fox News. All media outlets are bit biased but Fox takes the cake. Like he said get information from more than one source and that way you can't be brainwashed by the news. Fox news have most of repubs thinking Obama is a racist and Democrats would lead us into Apocalypse now.

    April 6, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Independent One

    Once Again THANK YOU SIR!!!!

    April 6, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Kevin in Ohio

    Heck, its probably true...Reed, Pelosi, and Obama are all nice people and good family people, I have no doubt. A conservative has no trouble admitting that. But would a left-wing zealot EVER say anything nice about ANY conservative.... NOT A CHANCE. The left is filled with HATE. (Prove me wrong, liberals.... say something nice about Palin, Bush, Cheney, Romney.... the truth is, you cannot.)

    While Nancy Pelosi is, very probably, a nice lady, she is not competent. And the same can be said for the Senate Majority Leader, the Prseident, and his administration.

    April 6, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Jim, San Antonio

    Congratulations for having the guts to stand up to the propagandists on FOX news. Just please don't apologize tomorrow!

    April 6, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Lori in St Pete

    Say WHAT???!!! This can only mean Nancy's done something to tick off her base.

    April 6, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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