AUSTIN -- More than a half-dozen Republican state officials and lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, joined former New York Gov. George Pataki at an Austin rally Tuesday as part of a national campaign to repeal President Barack Obama's healthcare initiative.
Called Revere America, after Paul Revere's historic ride, the campaign seeks to gather the signatures of 1 million Americans opposed to the law. About 50 people gathered on the south steps of the state Capitol to hear the speakers assail the plan as an ill-advised budget-wrecker.
"The Obama bill is misguided. I do not doubt the motives of its supporters," said Williams, who is running for U.S. Senate in 2012.
"They are attempting to show compassion. But compassion should always walk side by side with wisdom," he added, saying the bill's price tag and mandates place "a major multimillion-dollar IOU on our state budget."
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Pataki, who is chairman of Revere America, said the healthcare law is the latest creation of Washington liberals who "have enacted one policy after another that chip away at our precious freedoms and threaten to change the very essence of America."
Democrats later countered the Republican assertions at a news conference and round-table discussion at the Texas AFL-CIO headquarters. "Conservative Republicans think opposition to this legislation is a political advantage to them," said state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, "but they don't yet realize that they are both on the wrong side of Texans' healthcare needs and of history."
DAVE MONTGOMERY IS THE STAR-TELEGRAM'S AUSTIN BUREAU CHIEF. 512-476-4294