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GOP govs defend rowdy town halls

From NBC's Matthew Samuels and Domenico Montanaro
Republican governors earlier today defended the confrontational crowds seen at dozens of town-hall meetings across the country as being part of the "Democratic process." 

"People are scared, saying my very existence may be threatened," Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle said on a conference call with reporters and other Republican governors, adding, "There are many people who are already satisfied with their health care and want to know what is going to change."

Govs. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Sonny Perdue of Georgia agreed and criticized the administration for rushing through a plan.

"The American people realize that this is too much too fast and too many trillions of dollars," Barbour said. "How come they need to pass this before the August recess? People want their questions answered first." He added that it took Obama six months to pick out a dog, yet is "rushing" health care.

"People do not understand why this is being crammed down their throat without getting their questions answered," Barbour said.

The governors expressed confidence for the 2009 gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. Republican candidates there lead in both races, according to public polling.

"[We are] very excited about '09 races in Virginia and New Jersey," Barbour said. "We have great candidates who are ahead in the polls. They will be close but we like where we are."

Barbour praised Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie as an "outstanding candidate." He added that New Jersey will likely have nothing to do with national politics.

"Chris Christie is ahead in the polls because people in New Jersey look over the last four years Corzine has been governor and have not liked what he has done," Barbour said.