Boustany to deliver GOP response

Rep. Charles Boustany will speak after Obama's Wednesday address

By Alex Isenstadt
|  Tuesday, Sep 8, 2009  |  Updated 12:45 PM CDT
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Obama the Family Man

Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany will deliver the GOP health care response.

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The GOP has tapped Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s Wednesday’s primetime speech to Congress.

In a Wednesday statement, House Minority Leader John Boehner praised Boustany as “a tireless advocate for reform that lowers health care costs and expands access for the American people at a price our nation can afford.”

“He understands why a Washington bureaucrat – as Democrats have proposed – should never get between a doctor and his patient. I’m pleased Charles has agreed to speak to the American people about a Republican vision for reform and the need for both parties to come together to craft a responsible proposal at a time when people across the country are focused on jobs.”

The official response speech to presidential addresses can have a serious impact on a politician’s national profile. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), gave the response to President Bush’s State of the Union a few years ago, vaulting him into national prominence. Yet Louisiana Gov. Bobbie Jindal’s response to Obama’s last national address was widely panned, harming the buzz surrounding his presidential prospects.

For Republicans, it’s little surprise why Boustany is an attractive choice to push back: he’s been a doctor for 20 years.

“As a doctor, I know we must lower costs and improve care, which we can accomplish by focusing on strengthening the doctor-patient relationship and working in a bipartisan way,” Boustany said. “Health care is a kitchen table issue that affects all Americans, and I believe we need an honest discussion about how we come together to fix what’s broken, while building on what works.”

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