Betsy Markey

Vulnerable Dems keeping health care forums casual


FORT COLLINS, Colo. | First-term Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey is convinced that once people learn what’s in President Obama’s new health care overhaul law, they’ll support it.

But that is not a message she was eager to carry in person to her constituents in Republican-leaning eastern Colorado. During Congress’ two-week Easter break, she reserved any discussion of health care reform for conference calls, an Op-Ed piece and an appearance at a small-town Rotary Club – all small-bore outreach.

After the raucous, angry town halls of last summer, Mrs. Markey steered clear of massive gatherings.

She was not alone. Tough votes for Mr. Obama’s health care plan have further complicated the re-election prospects of dozens of already vulnerable freshman and sophomore Democrats. There’s even a chance the party could lose control of one or both houses of Congress in the midterm elections.

Democrats and a few Republicans reported receiving threats to themselves and their families in the days after the vote. The FBI arrested a California man Wednesday for reportedly making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On Tuesday, a Washington state man was arrested and charged with threatening to kill Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.

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