As the intense debate about lifting the debt ceiling continued to paralyze Washington, about three dozen people protested Tuesday afternoon outside the office of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) in downtown Huntington Beach.

The picketers, many of whom carried handwritten signs, gathered near Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway and sometimes elicited shouts and honks from passing drivers. The liberal MoveOn.org called on citizens nationwide to protest outside Republican representatives' offices.

The crowd below Rohrabacher's office at 101 Main St., which overlooks the intersection, carried signs that read "Don't destroy the American dream," "Tax the wealthy and corporations" and other slogans.

Huntington Beach resident Bob Allen said he believed the Republicans were opposing President Obama and the Democrats mainly on partisan grounds.

"They're basically just saying no to Obama," he said. "I think their biggest mission is to get him out of office."

The proposals by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid differ on where to make federal budget cuts. Boehner's plan would cut Medicare and other federal entitlement programs, while Reid's plan would save by drawing down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Eva Goodwin-Noriega, a Costa Mesa resident and vice president of the California Alliance for Retired Americans, said the proposal to cut entitlement programs was inexcusable.

"This is retired people," she said. "This is their Social Security."

Tara Setmayer, Rohrabacher's communications director, defended the Republicans' position and said overspending by the Obama administration had resulted in most of the current financial woes.

She acknowledged that the party wanted to trim entitlement programs, but said many of the protestors' fears were unfounded.

"That doesn't mean seniors won't be receiving their Social Security checks," Setmayer said. "This is long term, and to characterize it any other way is disingenuous."

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