“I think competition is a good thing,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview that airs Sunday on State of the Union. “You know, I've got 11 brothers and sisters. I learned about competition early on. But it makes everybody better. And so we've had Tea Party candidates in primaries. [The] [m]ore competition, the better.”
Boehner was commenting on the possibility that third party candidates supported by Tea Partiers might challenge moderate Republicans in swing districts during this year’s primaries.
Earlier: Who are the Tea Party activists?
But, at the same time, Boehner also sought to extend a welcoming hand to the grassroots movement to join leagues with the GOP.
“I'm doing everything I can to prevent this bill from becoming law. Plain and simple,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview that airs Sunday on State of the Union.
Boehner added, “What I'm doing is working with my colleagues to keep the American people engaged in the fight.
“I don't have enough votes on my side of the aisle to stop the bill. But I, along with a majority of the American people who are opposed to this, can stop this bill. And we're going to do everything we can to make it difficult for them, if not impossible, to pass the bill.”
The Ohio Republican also faulted the White House and Capitol Hill Democrats for a lack of what Boehner considers meaningful bipartisanship on the issue of health care reform.
(CNN) – The Republican congressman who lost to New York Democrat Eric Massa in 2008 announced Wednesday that he will not run again for the now vacant seat.
"Over the last week, I have heard from hundreds of my former constituents urging me to run for my old congressional seat," Randy Kuhl said in a written statement. "Their emotional plea to me was humbling and most appreciative. But, after careful consideration, I have decided to forgo a run for Congress. I want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported me during my 28 years of public service."
In the statement, Kuhl also urged his neighbors and friends to support Republican Tom Reed's candidacy for Massa's old seat. Reed announced his bid prior to Massa's surprise decision last week not to seek re-election in November which was followed by another surprise announcement that Massa would resign effective Monday evening.
–CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Martina Stewart contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) – Modern education policy makes for strange bedfellows.
Current Education Secretary Arne Duncan and former Education Secretary William Bennett, agreed Tuesday that No Child Left Behind, a trademark initiative of former President George W. Bush, has caused some states to lower educational standards.
"We have dummied-downed standards," Duncan said on CNN's Situation Room. "It's our fault as adults. We've lowered the bar. We've had low expectations – not because it's the right thing educationally, not because it's the right thing for our economy. We did it because of political pressure."
Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer what he meant by "political pressure," Duncan blamed the previous administration's signature educational policy which created a regime of standardized testing as one of the major indicators of a school's success in educating kids.
"What we've seen under No Child Left Behind is – we saw many states actually reducing standards to respond to that political pressure. That's bad for children, bad for education. Wolf, we've been lying to children in our country."
Watch the interview after the jump:
(CNN) – The White House is dismissing former Rep. Eric Massa's claims that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel "is the son of devil's spawn" who once berated him in the nude for not supporting the president's budget.
Twice on Tuesday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Massa's recent accusations about Emanuel are "silly and ridiculous."
In the wake of a Politico report that Massa sexually harassed one of his male staffers, the Democratic lawmaker announced last week that he would not seek re-election and then, just days later, that he would retire - effective Monday evening.
In his last full day in office on Monday, the departing lawmaker took a shot at the president's chief of staff.
"Rahm Emanuel is the son of the devil's spawn," Massa told a caller Sunday during his radio program on WKPQ in upstate New York. "He is an individual that would sell his mother for a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive. If he doesn't like me, he can come after me personally."
On the broadcast, Massa also recounted a confrontation with Emanuel in the House gym.
"I'm sitting there showering, naked as a jaybird and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me because I wasn't going to vote for the president's budget," he said. "Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man? And by the way, what the heck is doing in the congressional gym? He goes there to intimidate members of Congress."
(CNN) – The political chattering class in Washington need wait no longer for the answer to one of the past year’s burning questions: Why did former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, decide to take a turn on “Dancing with the Stars”?
“I just thought it would be the greatest thing, the best fun. And it was the best fun I've ever had,” DeLay said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “It was just amazing. I mean, it was a lot of work, and my feet killed me the whole time… and I broke both feet. But I just had the best time.”
The Texas Republican was a member of the popular show’s cast last season but had to drop out of the demanding dance competition early after suffering stress fractures in both of his feet.
Related video: DeLay out on 'Dancing'
Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN
(CNN) – The man nicknamed “The Hammer” for his ability to impose party discipline faulted the two leading congressional Democrats for what he calls their “take or leave it” approach to passing legislation.
“I think what they're doing wrong is because of arrogance,” former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “They have huge majorities . . . and you would think you could pass anything and pass it quickly with those kinds of majorities.
Related video: DeLay weighs in on top Dems
“Why is it? Why can't they? It's because they're going back in rooms and then telling the members, take it or leave it. You can't do that. It's obvious.”
(CNN) – A former House Republican leader thinks that the Tea Party movement, a conservative grassroots movement that has at times clashed with the Republican Party, presents an opportunity which the GOP would be wise to seize in this midterm election year.
“I’m rooting for the Tea Party activists,” Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “mainly because - we saw it in the Texas primaries. I watched it very closely. The Tea Party activists ran a lot of people against Republican incumbents. . . . the Tea Party activists don't like what's going on, but they don't like the Republicans either.
“And it was a real message to the Republicans that they better welcome these people in, because now they voted in the Texas primary – they are Republicans.”
Asked by CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley whether the Tea Partiers could be a danger to the GOP, DeLay said that, instead of fearing the Tea Partiers, his party should embrace the grassroots movement.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the Republicans – if they’ll take it. They now have these people in their party. They ought to be reaching out to them and accommodating them and working with them.”
Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN
Washington (CNN) – A retiring House Democrat who is himself unsure whether he will back his own party’s health care reform bill criticized congressional Republicans Sunday for their lack of bipartisanship on the issue of health care.
“Tom DeLay was on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” Rep. Brian Baird, D-Washington, said on CNN’s State of the Union, referring to the Republican former House Majority leader, who was also a guest on the show.
Later: DeLay explains turn on DWTS
“We don’t have a dance partner,” Baird said. “We don’t have someone on the other side who is seriously willing to say, ‘If you do these things, you will have our support.’ And the reason is they see it as such a potent political weapon.”
Assuming - as many in his party have recently – that the final health care reform legislation will get no Republican support, Baird defended use of a Senate procedural measure called reconciliation which allows certain budgetary bills in the Senate to be passed with just 51 votes.
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York, denied reports Wednesday that he harassed one of his Capitol Hill staffers - announcing, however, that he would not seek re-election because of health concerns.
A spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged that allegations of misconduct against Massa, 50, were under review by the House Ethics Committee.
Hoyer spokeswoman Katie Grant said that a member of Massa's staff told Hoyer's staff about the allegations, and Hoyer gave the retired Navy commander 48 hours to take the matter to the Ethics Committee.
"Within 48 hours, Mr. Hoyer received confirmation from both the Ethics Committee staff and Mr. Massa's staff that the Ethics Committee had been contacted and would review the allegations," Grant said. "Mr. Hoyer does not know whether the allegations are true or false, but wanted to ensure that the bipartisan committee charged with overseeing conduct of members was immediately involved to determine the facts."
The online journal Politico reported earlier Wednesday that Massa was stepping down "amid allegations he sexually harassed a male staffer," and a senior Democratic aide later told CNN that the allegations involved a male staffer who was made to feel uncomfortable.
The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions among staff were private on a sensitive matter and because of the ongoing Ethics Committee investigation, said the allegation involved "a sexual implication."