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Obama's health reform speech galvanizes opponents
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Obama's health reform speech galvanizes opponents

BY Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama's speech to Congress on healthcare reform has galvanized activists opposed to his proposals who plan a mass march on Washington on Saturday as the next step in their campaign. Groups that reject Obama's reform and seek limited government and lower taxes said that nothing they heard in Wednesday night's speech to a joint Congress session would deter them. Instead, it provided fresh fuel for their opposition to the government plans for the $2.5 trillion sector, in part on the grounds that it would raise the country's budget deficit -- a charge Obama denies. That opposition took the form of often rowdy town hall meetings over the summer and Saturday's march provides a new opportunity for the campaign to seize the agenda, they said. "Every group (going to the march) has its own agenda but we have a common agenda to get the country back," said Jack Staver, who leads a Tea Party Patriots group in northern Georgia and plans to attend the march. At least 20,000 people are expected for the march, said Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union, a conservative group. The event will gather groups including FreedomWorks, the National Taxpayers Union, the Tea Party Patriots and Smart Girl Politics, all of which rely on the Internet and social networking sites to communicate with members. The groups said they have seen a spike in membership and activism since a political fight over a big economic stimulus package passed by Congress in February, and again more recently over healthcare. "We are educating and motivating citizens to get involved in this debate through petitions, faxes, phone calls, personal visits," said Ron De Jong of the conservative Grassfire.org group. "Obama's speech has only galvanized our opposition." MARCH DAY AFTER 9/11 ANNIVERSARY But supporters of Obama said he succeeded during the speech in clarifying a series of gross distortions of his reform plans perpetuated by conservative opponents for political reasons. Marches on Washington are a potent symbol because of a 1963 civil rights march at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Saturday also falls one day after the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Groups participating in the march said Obama's speech made little difference to their opposition plans. "There wasn't anything new in the speech except that it gave us new talking points," said Rebecca Wales of Smart Girl Politics, a conservative women's organization founded last year. For many conservatives, the stimulus package, Obama's energy reform bill and now healthcare reform evoke raw anger because they view them as fundamental violations of the way the United States should be governed. "He (Obama) is an out-and-out Communist," said Lynn Kartchner, who runs a gun shop in Douglas, Arizona. "He's a Socialist to the core and he doesn't really care who he has to steal from to get what he wants. What he wants is power. "He wants as many people as possible totally dependent on the government, just like the Soviet Union," Kartchner said. These activist groups share a common position with many Republican politicians as well as with lobby and industry groups opposed to Obama's healthcare plans. Many draw inspiration from conservative talk radio. Opposition to healthcare provides a focus for conservative energy but, in the longer term, several activists said they were focused on congressional elections in November 2010. Republicans lost ground in congressional elections in 2006 and 2008 but many conservatives believe public anger over healthcare reform proposals provides an opportunity to change that trend. (Additional reporting by Tim Gaynor in Arizona; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Bill Trott)

09/11/2009
Coalition Forms to Oppose Flood Insurance Plan
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Newspaper Article

Coalition Forms to Oppose Flood Insurance Plan

BY Lilla Zuill

A coalition of environmentalists, consumer advocates and insurers has formed to oppose proposed legislation that would expand a federal flood insurance scheme. The measure would add coverage for wind damage, which the coalition says could prove costly for taxpayers and send the wrong message about developing environmentally-sensitive, catastrophe-prone areas.

03/26/2008
Bush hopes for lift from upbeat economic reports
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Newspaper Article

Bush hopes for lift from upbeat economic reports

BY Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON, - President George W. Bush, trying to lift his sagging approval ratings, has launched a push to take credit for recent positive economic news the public has largely shrugged off. In one example of the pessimism, an ABC/Washington Post poll taken in the month ended Nov. 13 showed 64 percent of Americans described the economy as poor or not so good, with only 36 percent judging it to be good or excellent.

12/03/2005
White House urges Social Security benefit cuts-WSJ
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White House urges Social Security benefit cuts-WSJ

NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The White House has written a memo arguing that changing the Social Security system will require reducing benefits as well as setting up private investment accounts, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The memo, addressed to the administration's conservative allies, is an attempt by the White House to convince members of the Republican Party who advocate creation of the private accounts -- such as former Reps. Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich -- that cuts in benefits paid to future retirees are also necessary, the newspaper said.

01/06/2005
Without Greens, Nader Faces Uphill Battle
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Without Greens, Nader Faces Uphill Battle

BY Rolando Garcia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Spurned by the party that embraced him four years ago, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader pressed ahead on Monday with state-by-state petition drives to get on the ballot. But after the Green Party nominated someone else for president this weekend, Nader faced an uphill battle to match his 2000 campaign when he was on 43 state ballots, said Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News. The Green Party is automatically on 22 state ballots.

06/28/2004
Legislators Debate Fake Nails, Pet Trusts
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Legislators Debate Fake Nails, Pet Trusts

BY Kristin Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Far-fetched proposals seeking everything from the regulation of fake fingernails in eateries to a statewide rejection of federal income tax came before U.S. state legislatures in 2004, most to no avail. Despite almost certain failure, state lawmakers have spent dozens of hours on scores of unusual bills this fiscal year that moved far beyond standard spending proposals.

06/12/2004
U.S. House aims for Medicare drug vote
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U.S. House aims for Medicare drug vote

BY Joanne Kenen

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - With some crucial conservatives still vowing to defy Republican leaders and vote 'no', the U.S. House of Representatives opened debate on Friday on sweeping legislation to overhaul the Medicare health program for the elderly. The legislation, a priority of President George W. Bush as he prepares to seek re-election next year, would add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare and introduce far-reaching reforms to restrain costs and expand the role of private managed-care plans in caring for the elderly.

11/21/2003