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  A GOP Senator Looking to Meet Halfway
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Last EditedJason  Sep 04, 2009 02:10am
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AuthorShailagh Murray
MediaNewspaper - Washington Post
News DateFriday, September 4, 2009 08:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionLOUDON, Tenn. -- Republican Sen. Bob Corker stood before a packed high school auditorium this week for his 24th and final town hall meeting of the summer, sketching out his vision for the bipartisan health-care plan he says he is convinced Congress can pass.

A contentious August recess dramatically reshaped the debate, and lawmakers will return to work next week facing a landscape that even a conservative first-term senator in the minority party such as Corker has the opportunity to influence.

After Democratic proposals endured weeks of battering in public forums, President Obama will attempt to restore momentum to the reform process he initiated, beginning with an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night. And while the administration was reluctant to make major concessions on the shape of health legislation before lawmakers left town, Obama aides are making it clear that they are ready to listen to any ideas that could help make significant change a reality.

Although heated rhetoric over a potential government takeover of health care has been a staple of the hundreds of town meetings lawmakers held this summer, many Republicans say they heard a second message back home: No matter how flawed the plans being pushed by Democrats, the status quo is not a popular alternative.
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