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Boehner‚??s image hurt by fiscal cliff

February 19. 2013 11:14PM
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WASHINGTON ‚?? John Boehner is a bloodied House speaker following the startling setback that his own fractious Republican troops dealt him in their ‚??fiscal cliff‚?Ě struggle against President Barack Obama.

There‚??s plenty of internal grumbling about the Ohio Republican, especially among conservatives, and lots of buzzing about whether his leadership post is in jeopardy. But it‚??s uncertain whether any other House Republican has the broad appeal to seize the job from Boehner or whether his embarrassing inability to pass his own bill preventing tax increases on everyone but millionaires is enough to topple him.

‚??No one will be challenging John Boehner as speaker,‚?Ě predicted John Feehery, a consultant and former aide to House GOP leaders. ‚??No one else can right now do the job of bringing everyone together‚?Ě and unifying House Republicans.

The morning after he yanked the tax-cutting bill from the House floor to prevent certain defeat, Boehner told reporters he wasn‚??t worried about losing his job when the new Congress convenes Jan. 3.

‚??They weren‚??t taking that out on me,‚?Ě he said Friday of rank-and-file GOP lawmakers, who despite pleading from Boehner and his lieutenants were shy of providing the 217 votes needed for passage. ‚??They were dealing with the perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes.‚?Ě

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