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Obama to Take On Health-Care Critics

The president is heading to town hall meetings in Montana and Colorado to discuss the administration's plans for health-care reform.
The president is heading to town hall meetings in Montana and Colorado to discuss the administration's plans for health-care reform. (By Jim Cole -- Associated Press)

"It means putting health-care decisions in the hands of you and your doctor," the narrator says. "It means lower costs, a cap on out-of-pocket expenses, tough new rules to cut waste and red tape and a focus on preventing illness before it strikes. So what does health-insurance reform really mean? Quality, affordable care you can count on."

According to a USA Today/Gallup poll, 69 percent of Americans are closely following news of town hall meetings on health-care reform. Thirty-four percent say protests against the plan at the meetings have made them more sympathetic to the critics' views, and 21 percent say the protests make them less sympathetic, according to the poll. Thirty-six percent say the protests have made no difference.

A separate USA Today/Gallup poll reported that 49 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's handling of health-care policy while 43 percent approve.

With Obama heading to Montana, Democrats in that state are furiously recruiting the party faithful to turn out at his event, which is scheduled to take place in a suburb of Bozeman. Demonstrators are targeting Obama's appearance as their most high-profile opportunity yet to make their case against a plan they perceive to be a government takeover of the nation's health-care system.

Worried about the potential for a harsh reception, the Montana Democratic Party sent an e-mail to supporters Thursday urging them to show up Friday.

"Last fall, when Swiftboaters and special interests attacked President Obama, folks like you came to his defense," wrote Anna Gustina, who was the 2008 state director of Organizing for America, a grass-roots arm of the Obama presidential campaign. "We knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, and made our voices heard. Now, we need to do it again."

Staff writers Ceci Connolly and Mary Ann Akers contributed to this report.


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