Tea Party groups lash out at Sen. Hutchison on health care bill

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by TOM BENNING and TODD J. GILLMAN / The Dallas Morning News

wfaa.com

Posted on December 21, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 21 at 6:51 PM

DALLAS ― Even though Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison strongly opposes the health care legislation being debated in Washington, Texas Tea Partiers say they're not entirely sure.

Her vote with Democrats Friday to end debate on a defense spending bill designed to delay the health care bill behind it sent them to the streets.

“Sen. Hutchison should realize that anything attached to government-run health care right now should be kryptonite for anyone who calls themselves a conservative,” said Phillip Dennis, Dallas Tea Party participant.

But Hutchison joined the Democrats only after they had the votes to end the filibuster.

Regardless, the Gov. Rick Perry campaign also criticized her for helping clear the way for the health care bill, but her campaign said that’s not so.

“It was a military spending bill that would have kept our men and women paid for the next year basically, and she is not going to vote against the fighting men and women of this country or this state,” said Hans Klingler, Hutchison campaign spokesman.

Hutchison's vote shows how what she does in the senate becomes inseparable from the governor's race.

Perry cultivated support from Tea Party members who oppose higher spending and taxes by appearing at some of their rallies. The Hutchison campaign questions whether Perry helped organize the Monday demonstration. The Perry campaign denies it.

The Dallas Tea Party said it called the protest on its own to get Hutchison's attention, and it succeeded.

“We were quite surprised (about the vote), and we expect her to do a lot better,” Watson said.

Other protests were held Monday afternoon in Austin and Houston.

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