Boehner: On women, some House Republicans ‘just aren’t as sensitive as they ought to be’

December 5, 2013
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)  (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)  (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that some Republican members of Congress just aren't very sensitive when it comes to women's issues.

He confirmed that he has personally tried to help his party get better at talking to women.

"I try to get them to be a little more sensitive," he said. "You know, you look around the Congress and there are a lot more females in the Democratic caucus then in the Republican caucus, and some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be."

Asked whether his party is making progress on that front, Boehner said: "I do."

Boehner's comments came after Politico reported that House Republican staff are consulting about how to help their members talk to female constituents. Republicans are hoping to avert another Todd Akin situation in future races for the House and Senate. Even aside from Akin and former Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, though, the GOP continues to lag significantly behind Democrats when it comes to winning women's votes.

Boehner also weighed in on another issue of GOP inclusiveness, saying that Republican campaign committees should support gay candidates in two key House races — distancing himself from a senior House Republican who has reportedly mobilized against the candidates.

Asked whether GOP resources should be devoted to the candidates — Carl DeMaio in the San Diego area and Richard Tisei in Massachusetts — Boehner said simply: "I do."

Politico reported Wednesday the Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), who could be the next Armed Services Committee chairman, has been pushing the National Republican Congressional Committee not to support DeMaio and Tisei. Forbes suggested that GOP leaders can back whom they want but stopped short when asked whether contributions from GOP members of Congress to the NRCC should be used to support these candidates.

GOP leaders have roundly rejected Forbes's push, saying they will support these candidates. DeMaio ran a strong campaign for San Diego mayor in 2012 and is challenging freshman Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) in a top-targeted swing district. Tisei is challening Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) for the second straight cycle after losing narrowly in 2012.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · December 5, 2013