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Boehner Urges Unity After Cantor's Defeat

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner urged his flock to unify Wednesday after Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning downfall at a meeting in the Capitol late Wednesday.  

Here's a portion of the Ohio Republican's remarks, according to a source in the room:

This is a speech I never expected to give.  I want to start by offering a heartfelt thanks to Eric and his staff for their service to our conference, our institution and our country. We've been through a lot together. When I was elected majority leader eight and a half years ago, Eric was there, as the chief deputy whip.  He's always been there. There's no one who works harder, or puts more thought, into advancing our principles and the solutions we want to enact for the American people.

Winston Churchill once famously said: 'Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.' As one who suffered a tough defeat myself in 1998, I can tell you there’s plenty of wisdom in that statement. Eric, we salute you, and we thank you, and your amazing staff as well. We're losing a leader, but you'll never stop being our colleague and our friend. This is the time for unity; the time for focus - focus on the thing we all know to be true: the failure of Barack Obama's policies and our obligation to show the American people we offer them not just a viable alternative, but a better future.
 Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.