WASHINGTON -- Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) faced an angry and frustrated crowd at a town hall meeting on Thursday in Kennesaw, Ga., which he said nearly brought him to tears.
Constituents zeroed in on the economy at the meeting at Ben Robertson Community Center, Patch reported, asking Gingrey why he hasn't done more to help get the economy on track.
"The questions were tough -- tougher than I've had before," he told Patch reporter Melissa Kory after the meeting. "And it frustrates me that I don't have ready answers to the lady that said, 'Well, what are you doing? Why aren't you the drum major? Why can't you wave a magic wand and get this economy going again and create some jobs?"
"It almost brings tears to your eyes, because I know what she was talking about," he added. "You can tell that people are not just concerned, but that as well as a certain amount of anger."
Gingrey also discussed health care, student loans and Congress's own approval ratings. He said he tried to emphasize those issues and is working hard to fix problems in Washington.
"The American people are thoroughly disgusted with what's going on in Washington," he said during the meeting. "I would hope and pray that in my lifetime we would see a coming together and members would not feel that their political career would end if they showed any spirit of bipartisanship and worked toward getting things better. I would be lying if I said it's not getting worse."
Asked what the Republicans planned to do to increase jobs, he criticized President Barack Obama's job efforts, saying they cost too much money and "simply didn't work."
"But he tried to do something, what are you going to do?" an audience member called out.
Gingrey said the House had passed bills along party-lines to stimulate a market -- not a government -- economy and create jobs in the private sector.
"The jobs program of the Republican Party has been to take the handcuffs off small business men and women and reduce some of the regulatory burdens, rules and regulations … that basically just add costs," he said. "That is an approach we will continue to take."
He said after the meeting that he understands the frustration.
"I don't want to be too defensive in saying I'm doing the best I can, but it's almost like the sense was, 'the best you can isn't good enough,' " Gingrey said.