House Republican leaders enjoyed some bragging rights at their Wednesday morning press conference after their candidate, David Jolly, won Tuesday's hotly-contested special election in Florida to succeed late-Republican Rep. C. W. Bill Young.
"I've stood here after losing some special elections," said Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio. "I've tried to put lipstick on a pig, and it was still a pig. So you can bet they'll try to put lipstick on it today but you all know what the facts are."
Republicans see Jolly's win over Democrat Alex Sink as a sign that the wind continues to blow in their favor ahead of the midterms. Sink ran her campaign pledging to uphold the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans say her support of the law cost her votes.
"You cannot spin away the election of last night," said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California. "The libertarian on the ballot, you had [Democrats'] ideal candidate, ran for governor, this is the seat the president carried both times.
"Last week, we had on the floor the individual mandate delay," McCarthy continued, seeking to underscore Democrats' mounting frustration with the rocky roll-out of the health law. "Five more Democrats joined with us [since the last delay vote last summer]. 22, 27."