Boehner: No to New Contract With America

Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 10:45 AM

By Jim Meyers

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House Minority Leader John Boehner said Republicans are rejecting a call for a new “Contract With America” like the campaign that won them the majority in Congress in 1994.

“There will be no effort to try to nationalize the elections,” the Ohio congressman said Tuesday at a luncheon in Washington sponsored by The American Spectator magazine and Americans for Tax Reform.

He told reporters that GOP candidates could choose from a number of policy proposals offered by the national party, including healthcare, national security, and energy independence.

“But at the end of the day, people will have to run their own elections,” he said.

The New York Sun reported: “While the strategy will free up candidates to tout their independence and distance themselves from a party label that has been damaged in recent years, it may disappoint some activists looking for a more cohesive national strategy and a platform centered around new ideas.”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, asked Boehner why Republicans had not adopted a strategy similar to the Contract With American campaign that worked so well in 1994.

That year the Republicans’ Contract laid out a specific program that they promised to pursue if given control of the House of Representatives.

The political climate is different this year, Boehner explained.

“The tone’s going to be set by the two presidential candidates,” he said. “The ability of the House Republicans to try to nationalize it — I just don’t see it as possible. It’s a political decision, and frankly, one that I’m comfortable with.”

Despite predictions that Republicans, who lost the House in 2006, will suffer further losses in November, Boehner declared: “I think House Republicans will do better than expected.”

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