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Monday, August 27, 2007

Baird faces angry citizens

Early media reports are starting to come in about Brian Baird's town hall in Vancouver tonight, his first appearance before constituents since coming out against setting firm dates for troop withdrawals. As Think Progress noted in a round-up today, traditional and conservative media have lavished attention on Baird while giving such members as Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who has reached far far different conclusions than Baird, comparatively scant attention.

The Oregonian has preliminary "breaking news" summary of tonight's Baird meeting.
Hundreds at a raucous and hostile town hall tonight let U.S. Rep. Brian Baird know that they disapprove of his support for the troop surge in Iraq. Many suggested the Vancouver Democrat is not representing the will of his district.

The audience often interrupted Baird as he tried to calmly explain his decision to support a beefed-up presence of U.S. troops in the war-torn country. He said the United States has a moral obligation to help Iraq rebuild itself.
Over at Slog, Josh Feit phoned in a quick report.
He (Baird) was hammered by Jon Soltz, the young, good looking, charismatic chairman and co-founder of political action committee Soltz is also an Iraq war veteran, having served in 2003. Speaking calmly and to raucous applause, he said Baird (who recently returned from a visit to Iraq) was fooled “by a dog and pony show” and is unfortunately providing cover for President Bush.

Afterwards, Soltz told me that his goal is to bring Baird back into the Democratic fold.
KGW-TV had the town hall as the third story on the 10 PM broadcast that airs on a sister station. That footage featured Soltz prominently. The teaser for the 11 pm broadcast also features the town hall.

The Oregonian article estimated the audience at about 550 people.

MORE -- The P-I has this AP article. A snippet:
In May, Baird supported a bill that would have required troop levels to start falling by Oct. 1. But his perspective changed after a visit to Iraq in early August.

He now opposes a withdrawal timeline - and said he thinks that most of the country agrees with him.

"I have to believe that there is a quiet majority of people out there who think the war has been a terrible mistake, but they sure don't want to see us lose," he told The Columbian editorial board earlier Monday.

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