Afternoon Fix: Boehner says Newt isn’t so conservative
Boehner declines to embrace Newt; Gingrich staffer leaves after Mormon comment; Obama marks end of Iraq war; and Gary Johnson might switch to the Libertarian Party.
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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
* House Speaker John Boehner (R) gave Newt Gingrich some tepid praise at a breakfast this morning, declining to say whether he thinks the man who once held his job would be a good president. “Republicans have a lot of good candidates out there,” Boehner said. He added: “I am not sure he’s as conservative as some people think he is, but Newt is a conservative.”
* Gingrich’s presidential campaign parted ways with a top Iowa staffer after it was revealed that the staffer had referred to Romney’s religion as the “cult of Mormon.”
* During a speech at Fort Bragg in North Carolina today, President Obama hailed the end of the Iraq war. “Of course, Iraq is not a perfect place,” Obama said. “But we are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people. We are building a new partnership between our nations.”
* Donald Trump suggested Wednesday that he might be interested in running as the nominee of Americans Elect, which promises to get an independent presidential candidate on the ballot in most states. “Thousands of e-mails from folks urging me to seek the Americans Elect Presidential nomination,” Trump tweeted.
* Gingrich signs up veteran GOP pollster David Winston.
WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:
* House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), whose plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program has come under criticism from Gingrich, fired back in an interview with the National Review. “This is not the 1990s,” Ryan said. “The ‘Mediscare’ is not working, and we should not back down from this fight. I, for one, believe the country is ready, they’re hungry for it. They are ready to hear real solutions. We shouldn’t wait around for the status quo to become popular.”
* Oregon GOP special election candidate Rob Cornilles’s sports marketing business is coming under the microscope, with the Portland Oregonian reporting a 2007 tax lien for unpaid taxes and employee claims that they weren’t paid for telemarketing work. Democrats also point out that, while Cornilles has said he “created 60 jobs,” his company never had more than 22 employees at any given time and currently only has four full-time employees and two part-timers. Cornilles responded in an e-mail to supporters: “Like most businesses in this downturn, we’ve taken prudent steps to refocus our business as our clients’ needs changed — something the federal government could learn a lot from.” National Democrats have plugged $1 million into the Jan. 31 special election for a very Democratic seat, suggesting they are worried about losing it.
* The Blue Dog PAC today endorsed five House candidates seeking to keep the caucus of conservative Democrats alive. The endorsees are: Florida state Rep. Leonard Bembry, Arkansas state Rep. Clark Hall, Iraq veteran Brendan Mullen, South Carolina state Rep. Ted Vick, and former district attorney Rob Wallace, who is running in Oklahoma. Bembry is challenging Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), Hall is running against Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Mullen is running for Senate candidate Joe Donnelly’s (D-Ind.) seat, Vick is running for a new seat, and Wallace is running for retiring Rep. Dan Boren’s (D-Okla.) seat.
* The Independent Political Report says former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson will leave the GOP presidential race and instead seek the Libertarian Party nomination. The report says Johnson will announce the switch Thursday; Johnson responded saying he is exploring his options but that he won’t make an announcement Thursday. Johnson’s more libertarian positions make him a natural fit for that party, which in 1988 nominated another Republican, Rep. Ron Paul.
THE FIX MIX:
Mr. Potato Head, now with actual carbs.
With Chris Cillizza.