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Republicans have been grumbling about ABC devoting coverage throughout Wednesday to President Obama and his healthcare plan. What surprised me today is not that 40 GOP members of the newly formed “Media Fairness Caucus” sent a letter to the network, but that ABC News President David Westin was so strident in his response, calling it a game of “political high theatre.”

“We will include a variety of perspectives coming from private individuals asking the President questions and taking issue with him, as they see fit,” he wrote back.

“Sadly, some inside government and within the private sector see every issue as material for a sort of political high theatre, to be used to gain votes or energize political bases or simply to raise funds. I would have thought that a subject as important as the health care received by the American people would rise above this sorry spectacle. Our citizens need and deserve more. We are proud to be making a serious effort to go beyond mere punditry or stylized, bipolar debate; we are proud to work for a network and a company willing to devote valuable airtime to serious consideration of a subject so worthy,” Westin wrote.

Westin’s full letter is here.

The RNC also has a new cable ad (below) attacking the network for “turning over the airwaves to President Obama’s pitch for government-run health care.”