Debt Talks Bring Out Boehner/Cantor Rivalry

Boehner is more pragmatic; Cantor draws line, refuses compromise
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2011 7:30 AM CDT
John Boehner speaks with Eric Cantor on Capitol Hill in this file photo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The GOP’s high-wire debt ceiling talks have turned a spotlight on the growing rivalry between John Boehner and Eric Cantor, the Washington Post observes. Until Sunday’s talks, Boehner had been pushing for a grand compromise, while Cantor categorically refused anything involving tax increases. Yesterday, Cantor insisted that he and Boehner were “on the same page,” but insiders aren’t so sure. “I don’t think Boehner would want to serve in a foxhole anytime with Eric Cantor,” one former leadership aide tells the LA Times.

Cantor has become the voice of the House’s new conservative wing, while Boehner stands as the old-guard pragmatist. “If there’s a popularity contest right now, Cantor wins it,” one GOP aide said. For now, Cantor seems to have won the debt ceiling argument, with Boehner letting him do the talking at Sunday’s meeting. “Cantor has been running the show on the Republican side—almost exclusively—and he has about played out his hand,” says one Democrat who was there.

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