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MoveOn.Org Rallies for Republican Deborah Pryce

It was an unusual sight Thursday evening on the sidewalk in front of 500 South Front Street. A well-known group of political activists that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to unseat Republican Congresswoman Deborah Pryce was holding a rally for her in front of her office.

Drivers along Front Street responded to signs that urged them to honk if they support children's health insurance. The signs were carried by a handful of volunteers with MoveOn.org. Volunteer Jill Boyer and her children were among those taking part in the rally. Matthew is nine years old and Alexander is seven. Boyer says both have autism.

"My children need the Medicaid to pay for services that most insurance companies won't cover," says Boyer. I've tried to get private health insurance for them but the insurance companies won't touch them because of a pre-existing condition - autism."

Spokesman David Ploskonka said Boyer and others wanted to thank 15th District Congresswoman Pryce for her vote in favor of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. President Bush has vetoed the $35 billion expansion of SCHIP. The Senate has enough votes to override his veto. The House does not.

"We're here to ask her to lobby more Republicans to get the veto overturned and the kids the health care they need," said Ploskonka.

Pryce Press Secretary Ron Nichols says his boss voted her conscience on the measure and supports the rights of other House members to do the same. He also questions how effective any lobbying effort would be.

"Many Republican moderates ended up voting in favor of the SCHIP expansion, and there aren't that many Republican moderates left to lobby," says Nichols.

Nichols says MoveOn.org's thank you effort seems weak given that the organization spent $480,000 to unseat Pryce in 2006.

"Everything they do is 100% politically motivated and contrived," said Nichols. "Nothing is done out of benevolence."

Ploskonka disagrees. "I would not say there's a political reason," he says. "It's more of a moral reason. She voted for the health care and that's something we really stand behind."

Ploskonka said similar rallies were held elsewhere in Ohio and around the U-S in an effort to find the House votes necessary to override the president's veto of SCHIP.