Getting the rundown on tele-town meetings

Politico relives the so-called tele-town hall meetings that proliferated during the summer as an alternative to in-person events that, at least on television, were portrayed as mob scenes.

The article mentions both Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and John Ensign, R-Nev., who held telephone-based events.

It describes Ensign as screening callers by name, topic of question and location. It also says there was a dearth of dissenting sentiment.

"At one point, Ensign seemed almost flustered by the lack of opposition.

" ‘I keep asking if there’s another question on here for the government plan,’ Ensign said apologetically. “ ‘If you’re for the government plan, please hit *3 and we’ll try to put you at the top [of the list]’.”

It described Reid’s call as more balanced, stating, "His tele-town hall had a good mix of dissenters and supporters."

One lawmaker outside Nevada took a more freewheeling support than both Silver State senators.

"Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked questioners only for their names and locations, leaving each question a surprise. He rarely, if ever, muted a rambling caller during the call, which lasted more than an hour.

"Even in a heavily Republican district, Jordan took multiple callers upset about his decision to oppose the Democrats’ health care plan.

“ ‘We think that people should have opportunity to yell at the congressman if they don’t like what he’s doing,’ ” said Jordan’s chief of staff, Ray Yonkura, who helped with the calls."

Here’s the entire Politico piece.

An August 16 Review-Journal article on the subject had a tighter focus on Nevada.

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