Gingrich praises Harkin?

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, was a guest on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous yesterday.  Stephanopoulos asked Gingrich about the hubub at town hall meetings and Gingrich mentioned Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, and the town hall meeting Harkin held in Des Moines Saturday.

"I spent 20 years doing town hall meetings.  I once had 800 Machinsts on an Eastern strike for three hours and they got to shout all they wanted," Gingrich said.  "I thought Senator Tom Harkin was the model this week. His staff got nervous. They wanted to close downthe meeting and Harkin said, 'No, these are Americans. They have every right to talk.' And (Harkin) just listened and he engaged and he conversed.

"…There are a substantial number of people who are genuinely upset.  The American way is let it hang out, talk to 'em.  Members ought to go back home, hold as many town hall meetings as you have to, let people get it out of their system and, by September, we can have a genuine dialogue in this country."  

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.