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. The party of NO must GO out the DOOR

    Wow! what a refreshing thuth comes out of none other than a GOP senator Coburn. My utmost compliment on being a courageous and candid. The laughable so-called “fair and balanced”, “we report, you decide” network, owned and run by a foreigner who goal was to stir and ignite controversies (to say the least) and divide and conquer between ill-informed, uneducated extremists and more educated center to left population. Bravo for standing up to what is right Senator Coburn.

    April 6, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. that is what being an American is all about

    I'm no fan of Coburn, but today he speaks the truth: reasonable people can disagree and still not hate each other.

    Those who promote hate and fear (and for me that is Fox News and MSNBC) do no favors for this country.

    April 6, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Hugo

    Hmmmmm, let me guess, a legislative lawyer defending another legislative lawyer so that they may all retain their self elevated elitist stature in their special interest bought and paid for elected governmental positions. If Nancy truly is a good person she would quit flying back and forth from DC to California on the tax funded nipple every week generating massive volumes of greenhouse gases, donate her family wealth made from butchering the environment to those poor people of color in her District, then resign and join the rest of us in the middle class servitude and unemployment line that she and her fellow Socialists have set up for us all.

    April 6, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Justin

    Stand up guy.

    April 6, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. John Scott

    Finally....a voice of reason from the right. Informed and Intelligent debate will be the only thing that will create results in the senate. All the grandstanding, rhetoric, and outright lies only serve to divide and create hostility. 2 things we DO NOT need in this time of war and economic turmoil.

    April 6, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Darko

    Her own party calls her a witch behind closed doors... and if she's not 'evil'...well 'stupid' will suffice.

    April 6, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Jimbo

    Wow! Civility from the GOP! Coburn better be careful or he will wind up in Palin's "gun sight" next...!

    April 6, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. haren

    Only republican in washigton are not good.

    April 6, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Whether Pelosi is a "nice person" is immaterial. The fact is that she was instrumental in imposing on Americans, a majority of whom did not want it, a Federal take-over of the health care system and an utter certainty of higher taxes, a bigger deficit, a bigger debt, and greater and more prolonged unemployment.

    This was an act of tyranny, and Pelosi deserves no more, and no less, than the treatment afforded any other petty tyrant.

    April 6, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Patrick

    Good for him! There are so few politicians who are even civil anymore, it's refreshing that someone still has the humility to admit that everyone on the 'other side' isn't a bad person.

    April 6, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. dmacer

    All I can say is "WOW". This is a nice change from Washington politics as usual. While he was against the current bill, he has looked at all sides of it. I wish all Americans would take this tact instead of attacking something they don't like or better yet don't completely understand. Civility needs to be returned to this country. Volumes from the far right and the far left need to be toned down or better yet tuned out.

    April 6, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Tony in PA - ex republican

    A true american hero. They'll probably run a tea bagger against him now.

    April 6, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. cspurgeon

    Yeah right and I believe every word this snake in the grass says. His whole intenty is hate of Obama and political gain.Stay in bed with Fox Sir...you deserve each other.

    April 6, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Hous10


    FOX is the epitome of what Corruption is. They distort the facts and portray patriotism as something that goes against everything this country was founded on.

    There are GOOD REPUBLICANS But now a days there are far more Ignorant and Arrogant people like Palin who claim to be 'republican or conservative' just to make a profit.

    the sad part is that a lot of people fall for it.

    April 6, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. The Voice

    A Republican speaking against FOX!

    WOW! Seems like some Republicans are going to start changing their tune here pretty soon when they realize HC reform is a good thing for this country.

    April 6, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Nathan

    An uncharacteristically civilized comment from a Republican. Bravo Coburn.

    April 6, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Danny E. Gonzalez

    what an amazing statement... now why can't we have more representatives like him? heck i'm not a republican, but I can understand civility. thank you Senator.

    April 6, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Helen

    Smart man.

    April 6, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. jheron

    I am not a fan of some of Mr. Coburn's political stances, but I liked his points during the Healthcare debate, and I like his comments here.
    It is nice to see, and even if I am for the healthcare bill...and I do know what I am talking about...I respect Senator Coburn, and hope others follow his lead.
    I also hope his constructive suggestion for Healthcare become a reality.

    April 6, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Pat - boston

    Being liberal, I find his remarks more than smart, probably the smartest comment from both parties in years!

    It is sad to get in the comments section of this blog to only read insults from both sides (left and right)...

    April 6, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Israel Barreto

    I sure hope this marks the return to civililty and reason for Republicans. We need to hear more of these comments from other Republicans. Perhaps, the Republican party will start moving to the center again and work with Democrats and President Obama to solve our nation's problems.
    Thanks Sen. Coburn.

    April 6, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Michael

    Finally. A politician who gets it.

    April 6, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Miakoda

    As a lifelong resident of Tulsa, OK, I am acutely aware of Tom Coburn's reputation. I must say it is refreshing to see someone representing Oklahoma that isn't completely biased and just talking out of his you know what. The politicians in this state, along with a lot of the other people here are so uber-conservative that they can't see past their own nose. It would be great to have a rational, bi-partisan debate in Oklahoma, but it is highly unlikely that will ever happen! This state is SO far behind everywhere else...this state is full of stubborn people that are reluctant to accept change of any kind. For example, it was ILLEGAL to get a tattoo in Oklahoma until about 4 years ago! Seriously?! Also, our local legislators are so intellectually deficient when it comes to our budget that the city of Tulsa recently had to get rid of ALL our mounted police, lay off a LOT of officers, and ground ALL of our police helicopters! It's ridiculous! Sorry...off-subject....Anyway, it's just nice to see a politician that behaves like a real person and not a self-absorbed douchebag.

    April 6, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Donovan

    I give him credit ...

    Get BOTH sides of the issue before making your decision. Watch CNN, MSNBC, *AND* FOX. Read lit from the left AND right. Gather as much info as you can from ALL sides ... then come to your own conclusions.

    April 6, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    Honesty and civility from the right? I see the teapalin express in oklahoma soon.

    April 6, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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