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No ‘Man Crush’ on Romney in House GOP

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
After a meeting of the House Republican Conference, Speaker John Boehner conducts a news conference in the Capitol where Members discussed presidential candidate Mitt Romney and efforts to repeal the health care law.

Do House Republicans and Mitt Romney need to have a relationship-defining talk?

After Speaker John Boehner bluntly told an audience that aside from Romney’s “friends, relatives and fellow Mormons” most people would be voting for the former Massachusetts governor out of opposition to President Barack Obama, rank-and-file Members struggled to explain whether they love Romney or just hate Obama.

“I think both,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said, “but definitely motivated by the fact that Barack Obama has been a terrible president.”

“I never thought the Speaker was going to give Mitt Romney a big, wet, slobbery, tongue-filled kiss. But there’s a lot to like,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the House Member who is closest to Romney personally. “We don’t expect a man crush. We want to come together and actually solve problems.”

“You typically don’t hear of people going, ‘Oh, man, I can’t wait to go to the polls and vote for so-and-so,’” Rep. Lynn Westmoreland said — except, the Georgia Republican conceded, in 2008, when the devotion of Obama followers helped usher him into the White House.

As one GOP aide noted, “It’s the old adage: Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line.”

Even Rush Limbaugh weighed in on whether love was in the air.

“We don’t want people falling in love with candidates. That’s what people did with Obama in 2008. We don’t want that. ... We find ourselves in a unique situation here. We don’t have the ideal nominee. There wasn’t the ideal nominee this time around,” the talk-show host said in a statement on his website.  

Still, Boehner’s remarks on June 30 were surprisingly frank.

As reported by Roll Call, the Ohio Republican was answering questions with an audience of 200 to 300 people at a fundraiser in Wheeling, W.Va., when an unidentified woman asked: “Can you make me love Mitt Romney?”

“No,” Boehner said. “Listen, we’re just politicians. I wasn’t elected to play God. The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney. I’ll tell you this: 95 percent of the people that show up to vote in November are going to show up in that voting booth, and they are going to vote for or against Barack Obama.  

“Mitt Romney has some friends, relatives and fellow Mormons ... some people that are going to vote for him. But that’s not what this election is about. This election is going to be a referendum on the president’s failed economic policies.”

Boehner sought to explain his remarks Tuesday, saying at a press conference that he “enthusiastically” supports Romney.

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