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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Allen West once preached tough political tactics but now decries them

South Florida Rep. Allen West and 10 other freshman Republicans stood outside the U.S. Capitol steps today to highlight a letter they sent to President Obama asking Democrats to tone down the debate over Medicare.

The Republicans complain that Democrats are organizing protests at town hall meetings, running TV and radio ads and generally stirring up mayhem. They even have a name for it -- MediSCARE.

“As new members of Congress, we are committed to having a fact-based conversation immediately. Our mission must be about the next generation, not the election—this is something we cannot lose sight of," reads the letter signed by 43 members. “Will you join us to stop the political rhetoric, work to advance America’s interests, and end this cycle of debts, deficits and indecision?”

This is the same Allen West whose string 'em up rhetoric helped him defeat incumbent Democrat Ron Klein last November. One of the main knocks on Klein was his support of the health care law, a subject that Republicans mobilized behind and nosily protested at Democratic town halls. After Klein ducked an in-person town hall, West implored tea party activists to "make the fellow scared to come out of his house." 

The Republicans who benefited from the campaign tactics now say it is time to move on.

"We have all been guilty, at one time or another, of playing politics with key issues facing our country," the letter reads. "As the freshman class, we have the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and fulfill the mandate set by the people to strengthen our country for future generations – not continue the petty politics we have seen in the past, which only creates an environment of stalemate."

Other Florida reps who signed the letter are Dennis Ross of Lakeland and Sandy Adams of Orlando. But neither is known for the tough-talking style of politics West practices.

Letter is attached.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 4:29pm]

    

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