GOP freshmen share how to handle town hall anger

May 21, 2011 - 8:44 AM

ELKTON, Md. (AP) — Democrats are spending big money to generate public outrage at the Republican plan to replace fee-for-service Medicare with government vouchers.

But recent town hall meetings were holler-free for two House Republican freshmen.

Rep. Andy Harris answered Medicare questions even before his Maryland constituents even asked them. In Arizona, Rep. Paul Gosar did the asking, in very generic terms.

The town hall techniques that Republicans have honed are no accident. Gosar and Harris both say the 87-member freshman class routinely trades tips on how to manage, or avoid, the town hall spectacles that Democratic campaign material is made of.

Six months into their jobs, the newcomers are getting adjusted to their roles, to Congress, to their constituents and to the reality that the 2012 election is under way.