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Congress: Boehner's rebuttal

After Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer penned a USA Today op-ed on the health-care debate, House Minority Leader John Boehner writes his own op-ed in the paper. "The backlash isn't fabricated, and those expressing vocal opposition are not 'un-American,' as Speaker Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer suggested on this page Monday. To the contrary, it is real, and it exists for a single, simple reason: The more the American people learn about the Democrats' health care bill, the less they like it."

"No one condones the actions of those who disrupt public events. Every citizen should have the opportunity to express his or her views in an orderly and respectful way. But those in Washington who dismiss the frustration of the American people and call it 'manufactured' do so at their own peril."

Sen. Ben Cardin's "75-minute town hall, held in a conservative stronghold in the state, was peppered with boos, jeers and catcalls, though a minority of attendees who support health reform efforts made it a bit calmer than past events in Laurel and Towson. Officials estimated up to 600 citizens, most of whom appeared to be opposed to healthcare reform, lined up outside the theater. Some audience members said they arrived as early as 8:30 a.m. Cardin remained nonplussed throughout the forum, even as constituents sometimes screamed at him, drowning out his explanations. The senator stayed an extra 15 minutes and took several extra questions, but appeared to win over few listeners." 
 
"Grassley, a chief Senate health care negotiator, downplayed the ongoing bipartisan Finance Committee talks, saying his decision to stay at the table allows him to keep his constituents and fellow GOP Senators informed. Grassley told town-hall attendees that he suspects President Barack Obama may not be interested in a consensus after all, which would render the Finance talks moot. 'I don't even think it's right for me to call [the Finance discussions] negotiations,' Grassley said, inside a steamy community center packed with a standing-room-only crowd of about 350 people. 'We're talking… I kind of feel like I'm a finger in the dike.'"

Jill Lawrence profiles Harry Reid. "The man from Searchlight is living a double life these days. At home, his favorability ratings are in the 30s and he's a prime target for state and national Republicans. In Washington, he's at the epicenter of power, one of a handful of people who can make things happen – whether it's bringing Bill Clinton, Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens to Vegas for a clean energy summit, or figuring out how to enact the health and energy reforms that top President Obama's agenda. We talked about all of that, as well as his re-election bid and his son Rory's race for governor. Yes, there could be two Reids at the top of the ticket next year in Nevada."