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Many Take To Streets Over Health Care Debate


Kansas City – Kansas Citians joined hundreds around the country on Saturday at rallies on the health care debate.
Laura Ziegler has more.

The rallies were organized by conservative groups associated with anti-government Tea Party protesters. The Tea Parties became well known on Tax Day this year, when large crowds expressed anger over the government meltdown and bailouts.

The so called "Recess Rallies" on Saturday had a central website where protesters were encouraged to report from different cities on turnout.

They targeted key Congressional offices. Several hundred were reported at Claire McCaskill's St. Louis office. A relatively small gathering waved angry placards across from Missouri 5th District Congressman Cleaver's office on 31st Street.

The largest protest in the metro was outside Kansas 3rd District Congressman Dennis Moore's office. Police estimated about 200 opponents and the same number of supporters waved signs, posters, and American flags at traffic along 87th street.

Retiree Robert Sukraw thought the turnout suggested the opposition was gaining momentum. Sukraw's feeling underscores polls released this week that show Obama's support slipping: "I want my country back. I don't want somebody telling me what to do. That's exactly what you got coming.

But Kris Cheatum, of Peacworks Kansas City, said supporters came out in equal numbers on Saturday, and on short notice. She thinks more people are favoring the reforms, like she is: "Were on medicare. It works great for us. We've never had to wait. So we think everyone should have this kind of coverage like we do."

Earlier in the day Kansas Congressman and Senate candidate Todd Tiahrt sponsored a forum on health care in Overland Park to overflow crowds. Both the protesters and supporters promised to continue rallying until Congress acts on a health reform law.

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