Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 22, 2014

Boehner Downplays Tea Party Rift Ahead of Super Tuesday

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Boehner (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio downplayed the heated primary battles across the country, where House and Senate incumbents, including some of his closest allies, are facing off against tea party aligned upstarts.

When asked Tuesday morning whether he thinks the expectedly strong showing of incumbent members portends a decline for the tea party movement, Boehner preached unity.

“I think the tea party has added great energy to our political process. And there are a lot of candidates out there. I expect there will continue to be a lot of candidates out there. And you get these primary elections, they’re hard fought battles, and sometimes … ” he said before trailing off.

“Listen,” he continued. “There’s not that big of a difference between what you all call the tea party and the average conservative Republican. We’re against Obamacare, we think taxes are too high, we think the government is too big. So I wouldn’t continue to sing that same song.”

One of Boehner’s closest friends in Congress, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, faces a challenge from the right, as does Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Both are expected to prevail.

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