By Mark Memmott
After creating controversy with a reference to "Obama's 'death panel,' " former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has followed up with a request to her supporters that if they attend town hall meetings with lawmakers they "stick to a discussion of the issues" and avoid "tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment." That's verbatim from her latest Facebook posting.
As for Palin's "death panel" reference, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., defended her on ABC-TV's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
At the The New York Times' Outposts opinion blog, though, writer Timothy Egan calls the comment "Palin's poison." Talk of a "death panel," he writes:
Is pure fantasy, fact-free almost in its entirety. The nonpartisan group FactCheck.org said there was no basis for such a claim in any of the health care bills under consideration in Congress.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration -- hoping to counter some of the criticism it's been getting about its health care overhaul plans -- has put what it calls a "Health Insurance Reform Reality Check" site online.