Boehner Seeks Capital in Taking on Economy

Posted October 27, 2008 at 4:39pm

Scrambling to aid his party and preserve his leadership post in the face of an expected Democratic sweep on Election Day, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is circulating a memo to GOP candidates outlining how to “shift the economic debate onto winning ground” in the dwindling days before Nov. 4.

The memo, issued Saturday by Boehner’s political action committee, the Freedom Project, is just the latest in what has become a series of efforts by the Minority Leader to shore up support in his Conference as he eyes a possible challenge to his leadership post after Election Day.

The most recent memo, which includes talking points and new polling data, encourages Republicans to “put your Democratic opponent on the defensive on the most critical issue of this election.”

Citing polls, Boehner argues that the public does not support a potential $300 billion economic stimulus package backed by Democrats. The memo also gives details on an alternative GOP economic plan that centers on tax cuts and offshore drilling.

In order to “break through the media clutter of the final 10 days, we must have a bold plan and an aggressive, wide-reaching communications effort to support it,” the Boehner memo reads. “I encourage you to incorporate the data … into your campaigns and build your messaging around it in the final days.”

The Minority Leader will spend Tuesday visiting businesses in his district and is expected to hold a conference call to tout the GOP economic plan.

Boehner, the Minority Leader for the last two years, has been working overtime to shore up the support of the Republican Conference’s conservative faction while demonstrating strength overall as a party leader. Boehner’s future in leadership likely hinges on the extent of Republican House losses on Nov. 4, and many believe any challenge to his position would come from the right wing of the party.

Last week, Boehner signed an amicus brief that accuses Planned Parenthood of administering RU-486, an emergency contraceptive, in an abusive manner. The brief, signed by nine other House conservatives, relates to a case before the Ohio Supreme Court.

“This abuse is symptomatic of an abortion industry that is more concerned about profits than it is about women’s health,” Boehner said. “The state of Ohio is well within its rights and acting in the interests of its people in seeking to ensure the [Food and Drug Administration] standards are fully enforced for this deadly drug, which should never have been legalized in the first place.”