Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney today named Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) his House liaison, a major new role for the 5th-ranking House Republican who has become the face of the House GOP on women’s issues.
“She understands the impact of the economic challenges Americans face and the need to put our country on a better track. As a member of the leadership team in the House, she will be a helpful partner in our efforts to ensure our focus remains on the critical issue of economic security for all Americans,” Romney said in a statement.
In the new role, McMorris Rodgers joins Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt (Mo.), who has served as the leader of Romney's endorsement whip team during the presidential primary campaign.
The pick comes as Democrats have ramped up attacks on the GOP over a contraceptive mandate issued by the Obama administration, disagreements over provisions in a new version of the Violence Against Women Act and a proposal by House Democrats to strengthen regulations against pay discrimination of women.
McMorris Rodgers has pushed back on the attacks, mocking Democrats’ charge of a Republican “war on women” as a “war on reality” and defending GOP policies in press conferences and television interviews.
An able messenger who brings diversity to the party’s public face, McMorris Rodgers told Roll Call in April she was preparing to run for Conference chairman next Congress, assuming that Rep. Jed Hensarling (Texas) leaves the slot to seek a committee chairmanship, as is expected.
Behind the scenes, her supporters are pushing for something bigger: the vice presidency.
“I’m really not expecting to get that phone call. I’m not seeking that phone call,” McMorris Rodgers has said in response.
Romney is attending a fundraiser in Seattle today that McMorris Rodgers helped organize, which is expected to raise $4 million.