House GOP Points Fingers After Loss; Cole Out As NRCC Chair?

The man tasked with retaking the House of Representatives for Republicans, Oklahoma 4th District Congressman Tom Cole, is on the hot seat after yet another special election loss, but this time after a loss Tuesday night in a Mississippi district President Bush once won by over 25%.

It’s no secret that Cole, the National Republican Campaign Committee chair, is disliked by Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, and Boehner sees Cole as the perfect fall guy in the event House Republicans lose significant ground in the November congressional elections. According to reports, the long knives are coming out.


The House Republican Conference was rife with rumors of quick fixes. According to one rumor, retiring Rep. Tom Davis (Va.) would replace Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Another had Boehner recruiting a top White House political aide to revamp the NRCC. Neither seemed likely to happen. Both underscored the desperation Republicans felt to do something, anything, to avoid the November disaster that the special election losses seem to portend.

Cole and his top staff at the NRCC were at the center of this quickly churning rumor mill, but the griping also touched Boehner, who spoke privately with his campaign chief Wednesday.

The two leaders, who sparred last fall over operations at the committee, offered contradictory messages about what changes were afoot.

Cole said speculation about his resignation or the firing of NRCC staff amounted to nothing more than a “Washington parlor game.” Boehner, hinting that a shake-up was coming, said Wednesday morning that he expected House Republican leaders would discuss the party’s problems, and what “changes” might need to be made to address them, in a meeting later in the day. Read more…

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