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War protesters greet Linder's visit to Braselton

Congressman's speech focuses on war and economy

POSTED: May 28, 2008 5:01 a.m.
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U.S. Rep. John Linder speaks to a crowd of 60 on topics ranging from the Fair Tax to gas prices and the Iraq war on Saturday morning at the Braselton Police and Municipal Court Facility.

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BRASELTON -- Though the economy and federal spending dominated a town hall discussion Saturday with U.S. Rep. John Linder, it was the Iraq war that stirred emotions inside and outside the meeting.

About a dozen protesters picketed in front of the Braselton Police and Municipal Court Facility on Ga. 53 as Linder, R-Lawrenceville,  spoke to a crowd of 60 inside. Protesters carried signs asking for "Troops home now" and "Fund health care instead of warfare."

"We came today because we oppose everything John Linder stands for," said Grace Hawkins with Gwinnett Citizens for Peace.

Ann Mauney, another protester, said she fears the toll the war is taking on American troops, citing the growing number of servicemen and women returning with emotional disorders.

"The consequences are not being discussed sufficiently," Mauney said.

Dorothy Shaw of Snellville, a coordinator for Gwinnett Citizens for Peace, said she would like to see Linder vote in favor of an exit strategy from Iraq.

"I think the war has gone on for too long, and I feel like the economy is suffering," Shaw said.

Most in attendance at the forum agreed that government spending needs to be curbed, and some blamed the war in Iraq for sucking money out of the economy and the federal budget.

"We are now spending $720 million a day on this war," Gloria Tatum of Decatur said at the public forum. But Tatum was booed and told by audience members to sit down when she hounded Linder for voting in favor of going to Iraq.

About the Iraq war, Linder said that the Iraqis "need to start paying their own way." He also said the solution to terrorism lies in confronting Saudi Arabia, which he said is a source of funding for terrorist organizations.

"We've had way too good a relationship with them for way too long," he said.

In regards to rising gas prices, Linder said "This gas balloon is going to burst." He said the federal government needs to draw from its oil reserves and move toward energy independence.



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