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. Sgt. Flagg T. McLiberty, Superpatriot

    "Don't just watch Fox News or CNN, watch them both,"

    Whoa. You just don't say that sort of thing to today's conservatives. I don't like Tom Coburn, but I will be praying for his safety.

    April 6, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Texas Independant

    Bless your heart Mr. Coburn....and keep spreading the good word regarding researching news for oneself in order to push decent discussions among civilized people!! Thank you Sir!!

    April 6, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Rick CT

    The people in Washington may be "good", but they are completely clueless as to what is happenening in the real world.

    Maybe we should send 8,000 marines to DC so it can tip into the Potomac River.

    April 6, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Vince

    I applaud you sir for having the hutspa to say that two people can disagree and neither one has to be a villan. I respect anyone who takes the time to get some perspective. If you run for president, you can count on my vote here in Florida.

    April 6, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. Doug Roberson

    I applaud Senator Coburn. Republican spitefulness poisons politics, and it's un-American; in fact I think much of it pushes the country toward internal violence, and that's very dangerous.

    I'm an independent, and a cautious supporter of health care reform.

    April 6, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |

    FINALLY a Republican with a sense of decency. the last time I can remember a Republican saying something nice about a Democract was John McCain telling a women that Obama was not a Muslim terrorist. i gained a lot of respect for both MCCaine and Coburn. Do i believe that there are more Reublicans like them, I sure do. so what is holding them back from being a decent American? losing the hatemongers votes. that's why.

    April 6, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. jjaz

    Uh-oh, a republican advocating common sense. He will soon be vilified by the right wing nuts who are whipped into a blind hatred by lies,
    innuendo and obfuscation.

    April 6, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. not alone

    Wow a voice of sanity above the sounds of the beating wardrums. While I can't agree with you on the issue you disided to take a stand on(many will lose their places to live and stay at because political rangerings is just not right not when you where the bed you sleep in is tonight. You wish to make the good fight of fighting for a good use of our tax dollers, then your party should have been doing the same in the Bush years and to kick so many to the curb for this tit for tat is just not right.

    April 6, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. RobertL

    Good for you, Sen. Coburn. Nice to see a guy with some guts.

    April 6, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. marcus

    Finally, some civility. That has to come before bipartianship even has a chance. America is not an "on the fringes" country. This tone could have led to even more Republican ideas being put into the bill. However, at the time they chose their path.

    April 6, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Tim

    As a proud Democrat I couldn't agree with him more. There needs to be a proper decorum and whether you agree with someone or not, civility needs to remain the highest standard. Both Democrats and Republicans have lost sight of this in my mind.

    April 6, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. jdk

    agree. Like to see a conservative with that message.

    April 6, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Mike1952

    This clown is no conservative if he thinks it's inappropriate to dislike the tactics employed by Pelosi and Obama to ram this law through. Fox News is the only place I can get the real truth. I take the time to educate myself on the issues and the corrupt liberal controlled press gives me nothing but half truths and outright lies.

    April 6, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. Barry Story

    It's good to hear a Republican with some civility, I didn't think there were any left. Every body knows Faux News is a spin agent for the whackos on the right.

    April 6, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. Alex NJ

    Good for Senator Coburn. I am a Republican and disagree nearly entirely with the healthcare reform but as a party we have stooped just as low as the Democrats did when President Bush was in office. People have different opinions and I would like to think they are with the best intentions. That goes for Speaker Pelosi as well.
    In regards to his jab at Fox News, of course they are biased. Everyone whether Democrat or Republican or somewhere in between can plainly see that Fox is the Republican's mouthpiece just like MSNBC is the Democrat's mouthpiece. I don't watch either of them. I stick to CNN because while most of your reporters do a terrible job of hiding their bias's at least if opinions are going to creep their way into your supposed "hard news," broadcasts at least a variety of opinions are creeping in.

    April 6, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. BobsUrUncle

    Well...whether you agree with the policies supported by Mr. Coburn or Ms. Pelosi or anyone else, one certainly must respect Mr. Coburn's position on this point. Cudos Mr. Coburn for endorsing and promoting civility!

    April 6, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Moderate

    I think the"fat lady" is warming up to sing for the Republican Party after the November elections, despite what Fox News wants you to believe. Only one thing happens after people lose their tempers and lose their fight...they lose interest. Republicans simply don't have the numbers anymore and Obama is perceived to be doing a really good job.

    April 6, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. John

    Moderation in all things. I've personally known plenty of politicians, judges, commissioners and my father is a conservative former COO of a huge drilling company. Mostly, they're just regular folks. What they have that most people don't have is extraordinary drive and vision. You may not agree with them, but these people have parents, brothers, sisters, children, friends just like the rest of us. It's a shame that people allow ourselves to be branwashed to hate and scream at one another. I don't believe I've ever seen anyone on become convinced of anything on the weight of the things said on these blogs.

    April 6, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Mo

    Well said...

    April 6, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. debbie

    Well well well – good for you sir! It's nice to hear a voice of reason from the GOP. I hope you're prepared for an outpouring of hate from the far right.

    April 6, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Kathleen

    I do not trust Coburn and his motives.

    Yes, Nancy Polosi is a nice lady but she has also worked her a– off for the good of the American People.

    April 6, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Chipster

    Coburn had better watch his back. Fox demonizes anyone who steps out of line with their fear and anger campaign. They repeat false information until viewers swear its true. They make invalid comparison to situations that don't compare. And their loyal followers march along in step. Beck is the worst. I watched as he spun a false yarn about a Brazilian oil deal, Obama, and George Soros. Yes, there was a Brazilian oil deal – the only true item. The rest was all fabricated. Not Obama, no money to Soros, deal made by an agency appointed by Bush...not even TAX funded!

    You get the picture? And all the while the loyal followers nod with their eyes glazed over. Fox laughs all the way to the bank!

    April 6, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. LacrosseMom

    THANK YOU, Mr. Coburn! Since the Bush Regime, the Conservatives have had the attitude, "if you are not with us, you are the enemy!" Well, this has done more damage to our Nation than any terrorist can do!

    We, Christians, just celebrated Easter, on the Conservative side some did not listen to the Gospel message that Jesus left us, "Love one another as I have loved you." Some Conservatives hate the Liberals, simply because we have a different point of view.

    Thanks again, Mr. Coburn, for being fair and civil! Maybe you will start a new trend!

    April 6, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. finallyagoodman

    someone making sence. yes ignore fox news. cheap and lies and promotoes hatred

    April 6, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Simple Words

    Oops. There goes another Republican who will be ostracized by the RNC for being a decent Human being.

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