Representatives Face Flack from Constituents at Town Hall Meetings


Other lawmakers fared better Tuesday. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., held a joint event with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in Owensboro, Ky., and fielded questions from a mostly friendly crowd. Both McConnell and Paul focused on what they see as government overreach and ways to lessen the budget deficit to members of the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs of Owensboro.

"We have the government in every nook and cranny of our lives: our business life, our personal life," Rand said. "We have government run amok."

In his remarks before taking questions from the crowd McConnell mentioned Friday's downgrading of the nation's credit rating by the S & P calling it a "good wake up call," to Congress.

"There's plenty of room to criticize Standard & Poor's but to the extent that that was related to the size of our debt, and our deficit, maybe it's a good wake up call," McConnell said, noting the country's $14 trillion debt.

McConnell also said the government needs to "quit borrowing, quit spending, quit over-regulating."

The only somewhat critical moment came when an audience member told McConnell, "I think we need some politicians in Washington to really stand up for the people, and I think if they don't do it they're not going to have a job much longer."

"Well, that's obviously what the people of Kentucky can decide when I get my report card," McConnell said.

The GOP Senate leader is up for reelection in 2014.

"We were given a choice between doing nothing and doing something," McConnell said of the debt ceiling deal made just one day before the Aug. 2 deadline. "The president asked us to raise the debt ceiling in April and cut nothing. Absolutely nothing. We said we're not going to do that. And we got as much as we could out of this without raising taxes."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., held a town hall Monday night in Gilbert, Ariz., and it didn't go nearly as smoothly as McConnell and Paul's. The former GOP presidential nominee faced an angry crowd, who took him to task on the economy and for characterizing "tea party" members as "hobbits" during the debt ceiling debate, according to the Arizona Republic.

During the question and answer portion of the event, McCain said he was reading out of a Wall Street Journal editorial to make a point about fellow GOP congressmen's insistence on a balance budget amendment before voting to raise the debt ceiling.

"What apology is in order?" McCain answered when asked if he would apologize. "What was wrong that I said?

"There was no way that a balanced-budget amendment would have passed the Senate. If anyone said that it could, they were not being truthful. Hobbits are not real, and the point is that it was not real," McCain said. "You should not deceive people and say that something like a balanced-budget amendment could happen. ... It's not my fault that it was misunderstood. I'm sorry that it was misunderstood."

McCain also told the crowd that he will "match my record as a fiscal conservative against anyone in the House and Senate, including new members."

"I have fought both the Republican and Democratic leaders on spending. I will defend my record," McCain said.

The topic of the economy also came up Tuesday when representatives from the other side of the aisle, including liberal groups and unions upset at the lack of jobs legislation being pushed by the administration and Congress, announced their own program to get Americans back to work.

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