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Members of Congress avoid town hall brawls this recess

Mindful of low approval ratings and recent run-ins with angry voters, lawmakers seek more controlled meetings with constituents.

August 26, 2011|By Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau

Liberal activists used some of the same tactics to pummel Republicans over their Medicare proposal.

Ryan was the target of some of that rage in the spring. Next week, he will make the rounds at the Walworth County Fair, and has conducted seven radio interviews and toured three local businesses during the congressional recess. Attendees must pay a fee to hear his upcoming speech at the Whitnall Park Rotary Club luncheon, but it is the club's decision to charge for the meal, his spokesman said.

"Congressman Ryan continues an active schedule during this district work period — participating in area events, touring small businesses and hosting multiple meetings with those he serves," his spokesman Conor Sweeney said.

But this year's August events do not appear to be shaping a defining moment in the nation's political discourse.

"We're faced with the Robert Redford question at the end of 'The Candidate': 'What do we do now?' " said Pitney of Claremont McKenna. "We have this gargantuan deficit and debt. We also have a prolonged economic slump. Nobody has a plausible answer to either question."

lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

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