RNC Shocker: Boehner Backs Cino for RNC Chair

January 12th, 2011 at 4:57 pm | 17 Comments |

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FrumForum has learned that in an unprecedented move, House Speaker John Boehner has officially endorsed RNC chair candidate Maria Cino, just as RNC members gather in Maryland for the first day of their annual winter meeting.

We can also report that Boehner has made calls to at least about half a dozen RNC members in the last week. With these very public efforts, it becomes clear that Speaker Boehner has made this internal Republican Party race a priority at the beginning of his tenure.

In a letter passed along by a Republican National Committeemember, Boehner tried to stress a respectful tone:

I respect that the choice of RNC Chairman is yours alone to make.  But having spent the last two years traveling the country to meet with activists, candidates, donors and voters to help elect Republicans, I hope you will permit me to make some observations about that choice…

I have worked closely with Maria for almost twenty years, during which time she turned around the NRCC to usher in the first Republican majority in the House in 40 years.  She served as CEO of the 2008 National Convention, which I chaired, and made it into one of the most successful in party history.  I have learned firsthand that she is an unparalleled fundraiser and a very efficient manager of resources.  She’s also exceptionally politically savvy and knows what it takes to win.

As you meet this week to make this important decision, I respectfully ask you to support Maria Cino for RNC Chairman.

This letter is in combination with the calls that Boehner has made to at least a half a dozen RNC members.

An aide to Rep. Mike Pompeo, the only Congressman also on the Republican National Committee, confirmed to FrumForum that Speaker Boehner had talked to Pompeo about the RNC race. Pompeo has endorsed Maria Cino for the RNC chairmanship.

FrumForum has also confirmed that Speaker Boehner made phone calls to the RNC’s Pennsylvania delegation, including calls to National Committeewoman Christine Toretti , National Committeeman Bob Asher and State Chairman Robert Gleason.

It’s been previously reported also that Boehner called Connecticut state chairman Chris Healy to request his support. Healy later decided to endorse Michigan National Committeeman Saul Anuzis.

FrumForum made calls to an additional several others who were supposedly called by Speaker Boehner, but received no response from them. An RNC member tells FrumForum that the Speaker has made more calls than those listed above, but declined to name names.

Politico also reported this morning that Boehner will further support Cino’s candidacy by hosting a cocktail reception later this evening.

Making calls and officially endorsing in a RNC race is a remarkable move for a Republican speaker. One might be left to wonder why Boehner has waded into an intraparty debate so early on in his time as Speaker of the House.

Further, the impact of Boehner’s endorsement is up in the air. “It’s one thing if people on the Committee are asking you to support X, but historically, [an outside endorsement] doesn’t hunt,” David Norcross, a long-time former RNC member from New Jersey, told FrumForum yesterday.

Norcross, who ran for RNC chair in 1997 and now supports Reince Preibus for chair, tells FrumForum that former House Minority Leader Bob Michel and former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole had once offered to write him a letter of support. “And I said, don’t do that! Please don’t do that,” recalls Norcross, “if you know these people, call them!”

But FrumForum calls to the twelve RNC members publicly supporting Cino indicated strong bedrock support – many of them have known Maria Cino for many years. This means a higher chance of delegate retention for the Cino campaign, which matters as the race is expected to extend over many rounds of balloting.

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Speaker Boehner’s Letter to RNC Members:

January 12, 2011

Dear RNC Member:

After the election last fall in which voters chose to return a Republican majority to the House of Representatives another consequential election is upon us.  This time you will make the choice that determines the future for our party, the ideas it exists to support and, ultimately, our country.

I respect that the choice of RNC Chairman is yours alone to make.  But having spent the last two years traveling the country to meet with activists, candidates, donors and voters to help elect Republicans, I hope you will permit me to make some observations about that choice.

Republicans won our majority because we assured voters that we would take a broken institution and lead the common-sense changes needed to make it work again for them.  We would become better stewards of their money, changing how the House of Representatives operated to increase transparency, accountability and sound fiscal management.  Immediately after I was sworn in as Speaker, we passed a package of rules that were the first step in making good on that promise.

I believe the RNC also needs new leadership to institute critical changes that will ensure it can once again work effectively for our party and its candidates.  Under recent leadership it has been financially mismanaged, insufficiently accountable, and badly lagging in voter programs and the use of technology.  If we continue to follow this path, we will put our ability to win the White House and the Senate, and maintain our House majority, at risk.

The race for RNC Chairman includes several experienced individuals with histories of service to our country and our party who want to take on this challenge.  But one of them stands out as having the most experience in leading the type change the RNC leadership needs: Maria Cino.

I have worked closely with Maria for almost twenty years, during which time she turned around the NRCC to usher in the first Republican majority in the House in 40 years.  She served as CEO of the 2008 National Convention, which I chaired, and made it into one of the most successful in party history.  I have learned firsthand that she is an unparalleled fundraiser and a very efficient manager of resources.  She’s also exceptionally politically savvy and knows what it takes to win.

Maria’s experience combined with her plans to register new voters, invest in technology and support state party programs will assure donors that their money will produce results.  Under her leadership as Chairman, I am confident the RNC will once again raise and effectively spend the funds needed to win the battle of ideas with President Obama and his Democrat allies.

As you meet this week to make this important decision, I respectfully ask you to support Maria Cino for RNC Chairman.

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner

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17 Comments so far ↓

  • Dex

    Here’s the real Boehner news of the day: Tonight, President Obama will attend a memorial service in Tucson for those who died in the tragic shooting there this weekend.

    At the same time, House Speaker John Boehner will be slinging back cocktails with members of the Republican National Committee at a political party he’s hosting at the swanky National Harbor resort.

    Stay classy.
    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/12/boehner-party-memorial-service/

  • TerryF98

    He has the Orange vote locked up then.

  • » Boehner Backs Cino RNC Chairman's Race

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  • JimBob

    Maria Cino comes out of the Bush Cheney wing the people that destroyed the Republican party. I had doubts about Boehner , but this only confirms them.

  • jakester

    Is a CINO like a RINO, I’m confused?

  • kevin47

    Contra JimBob, I was thinking that Boehner’s endorsement reduces Cino in my eyes. Either way, no thanks.

  • jg bennet

    shocker #2….. free traders beware

    The Donald is running for president. No, really. He talks with Lloyd Grove about why the Arizona shooter deserves the death penalty, Obama’s disastrous flip-flop photo op, and what he’d tell China.

    Every four years, Donald Trump engages in a ritual flirtation: He muses about running for president, suggests how terrific he’d be at it, and then decides he’d be better off not running.
    Not this time. When he floated his quadrennial idea three months ago, I assumed it was more of the same. Subsequent events—the shellacking of the House Democrats, President Obama’s triumphs in the lame-duck session, the glacier-paced revival of the economy, and the Arizona shooting spree—confirmed my skepticism about Trump’s sincerity. Politics, after all, is an unpredictable business, unsuitable for rank amateurs.

    But the celebrity real-estate mogul and reality-television star continues to insist he’s absolutely serious about a potential move to the White House.

    “I’ve never been greatly tempted before, but the country has never needed help like it does now,” Trump, 64, tells me from his Palm Beach, Florida, estate. “More than anything else, we’re no longer a respected country. We’re the whipping-post for the world.”

    For one thing, Trump says, Barack Obama just doesn’t seem all that presidential. The United States is grappling with a great many problems, and Obama, by Trump’s lights, isn’t doing much to solve them. But what’s really bugging him these days is the way Obama presents himself.

    “What are those sandals that he wore the other day?” Trump demands disbelievingly, reacting to the image of the vacationing president in a Hawaiian ice cream parlor, sporting swimming trunks and flip-flops.

    “I wouldn’t be wearing flip-flops. I don’t like it. I don’t think that is what the president is supposed to be representing. You will not see me wearing flip-flops.”

    Of course, the thatch-roofed billionaire—who says that if he takes the plunge, he’ll do it as a Republican—has a more substantive critique of the president, much of it focused on the United States’ allegedly self-defeating relationship with China, South Korea, and the OPEC oil cartel, which, he says, are taking unfair advantage of America’s goodwill. “I think it’s a failure of toughness, and it’s a failure of common sense,” Trump says. “I love this country, and I hate to see what’s happening to it. And I see nobody on the horizon that’s gonna stop it from eroding away. And it’s eroding away right now.”

    And, like the rest of us, Trump is outraged by Saturday’s horrific shooting spree at a Tucson shopping center in which six people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, were killed, and an Arizona congresswoman was wounded along with 12 other victims. The rampage occurred the day after Trump and I spoke.

    “Anyone who would commit an act as heinous as this clearly has deep rooted emotional problems,” Trump said in a statement Monday. “While this crime was an insane act, it demonstrates a deep lack of respect for law and order by a segment of society in this country. I would be in favor of the death penalty for this type of senseless and violent act (as well as others like espionage, treason, acts of terrorism) committed against innocent citizens. The trial should be expeditious and not drag on for years, as so many of these trials do.”

    Trump is apparently still fleshing out his campaign platform, but he’s testing the waters with some unapologetic China-bashing. He argues, for instance, that Obama should cancel the Jan. 19 state dinner at the White House for Chinese President Hu Jintao.

    “China gets away with manipulating their currency and stealing all our jobs,” Trump says about the nation of 1.3 billion people that also holds nearly a trillion dollars in U.S. Treasury notes. “I have dinner with and know many Chinese businesspeople, and they cannot believe what they’re getting away with. They tell me this. Now,” he adds with a chuckle, “they didn’t know that I’d be thinking about running for president.”

    Trump continues: “I think we should tax Chinese products until such time as it equalizes… I’m a protectionist when another country is making hundreds of billions of dollars a year of essentially profit off the United States.” Obama “shouldn’t be having dinner with Hu. Obama should say, ‘Before we have our dinner, I want you to straighten out the mess.’”

    Trump also blames China for being insufficiently persuasive with North Korea, which has been rattling sabers at South Korea and pursuing nuclear weaponry, and he blames Obama, ultimately, for not insisting that China tighten the screws. “Excuse me, there’s another example. They haven’t done anything with respect for North Korea. They can solve the North Korean problem with a phone call.”

    Speaking of Korea, Trump argues that the United States should demand hard cash from South Korea for protecting them from the belligerent North. “They only signed a [trade] treaty when they needed our help—even though it was a one-sided treaty in their favor,” Trump says. “They only sign when the bombs start getting lobbed onto them and we start sending our aircraft carriers to protect them… It’s absolutely ridiculous. Why are we protecting them? They’re making hundreds of billions of dollars off the United States yearly. Why aren’t they paying us for protection?”

    Ditto the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which regulates world production levels and prices for oil. “Somebody’s got to speak to OPEC in the strongest of language,” Trump says, “because you cannot have an economic recovery if every time the country starts doing better, they raise the price of oil. That’s like raising interest rates. That’s the ultimate deterrent.”

    Trump says that if he were president, he would simply tell the 12-country cartel that they aren’t going to raise prices “and they would listen… We have tremendous leverage. OPEC wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for us. Namely, we protect them.”

    As for Afghanistan and Iraq, Trump claims he has “a strong opinion” about what the U.S. should be doing there, but he’s not ready to share it. “I’m saving that for later.” Perhaps with an eye toward Republican primary politics, where social conservatives hold sway, he refuses to say whether he supported the repeal of the Pentagon’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that excluded avowed gays and lesbians from military service.

    “I don’t applaud it or not applaud it—I think it was something that was inevitable,” Trump says of the repeal. “It was something that was going to happen, and my attitude is, if the generals are happy with it, that’s good. But you know, it’s a completed assignment, and a lot of Republicans were in favor of it.”

    In a rare instance of praise for Obama, Trump applauds last week’s appointment of former Clinton-era Commerce Secretary Bill Daley as White House chief of staff—but for reasons that might be described as parochial. “I like the appointment of Bill Daley,” Trump says. “I like him. He has good taste, because he lived in one of my buildings in Manhattan.”

    On the family front, Trump says his three adult children—Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric—are bullish on his possible entry into presidential politics. “I have a great business and it’s doing the best it’s ever done,” Trump tells me, “but the advantage I have is three children in the business that are extremely competent and doing a great job. So that’s a big help.”

    As for his third wife, the Slovenia-born former Melania Knauss, 40, Trump says: “She’s fine with my decision. I think she’d be an amazing first lady. She’d be a first lady of unbelievable beauty and elegance.” And, I point out, America’s first Slovenian first lady. “Yeah, but she’s a citizen of this country now,” Trump says. “She’s very smart, and she would represent the country well.”

    A 2012 Trump presidential campaign seems at this point likely. A putatively independent website promoting his candidacy was launched recently by Trump Organization executive Michael Cohen. According to Newsmax columnist Ronald Kessler, who attended the New Year’s Eve bash at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach club, he has already confided to friends that he’s definitely going to announce. But he must wait till June, when this year’s season of The Apprentice concludes on NBC.
    Nothing Trump tells me contradicts Kessler’s report. “I can’t do anything until The Celebrity Apprentice finishes,” the prospective candidate says. “The season starts on March 6th and it ends in early June.” He adds proudly: “Can you believe it’s Season 11?”

    B.S.P. (that is, Before Sarah Palin), it would have been unthinkable for a presidential wannabe to be hyping a reality show in the same breath as his programs and policies. Like his fellow television star, Trump would bring definite assets to a political race: high name-recognition and a certain comfort in the spotlight. One advantage Trump has over Palin: He is demonstrably more media-savvy and press-friendly after decades of experience building the Trump brand into a valuable commodity. He knows how to craft a message and doesn’t mind repeating it over and over—a welcome skill in presidential campaigning. A disadvantage: Unlike Palin, he has never run for public office.

    Like Ross Perot—who, at various points in the 1992 campaign, was beating President Bush 41 and Bill Clinton in the polls—Trump is blunt-spoken. Also like Perot, Trump can be thin-skinned: Who can forget his undignified 2006 feud with Rosie O’Donnell—who’d claimed incorrectly on The View that Trump had filed for personal bankruptcy—or his lawsuit against a New York Times business editor for reporting in a 2005 Trump biography that the mogul’s net worth was $250 million or less?

    But Trump is quick to defend his credentials. “Who’s been more in the public eye than me?” he argues. “For 30 years I’ve been a very public person. And who’s dealt with politicians more than me? I probably have raised and given more money to politicians than anybody. I’ve been very much a part of politics in this country. It’s not like I’m a novice.”

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-president-2011-1#ixzz1AsqgSFIu

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  • Dex

    jg bennet – is that from The Onion?

  • Madeline

    “I’ve never been greatly tempted before, but the country has never needed help like it does now,” Trump, 64, tells me from his Palm Beach, Florida, estate. “More than anything else, we’re no longer a respected country. We’re the whipping-post for the world.”

    So who’s going to help the country now? The guy whose casino empire has twice had to file for bankruptcy? Casinos, ferchrissake! Owning a casino is like a license to print money, and Trump mis-managed his company so badly that his casinos went bankrupt, not just once, but two times. It’s almost impossible to be that incompetent, but somehow Trump managed it.

  • westony

    You mean all that “boot licking” shucking and jivin’ Steele exhibited for the past two years DID NOT help him. Go Figure….They’re still kicking him to the curb after their most successful election in decades.

  • deberb

    Obviously, it is time for real change. How anyone can crticize John Boehner for being in a meeting last night while President Obama was speaking in Tucson is beyond incredible. Life goes on, folks. We all have work to do, people to see and places to go. What would you have expected him to do? Stay on his knees praying for the past four days? Honestly!

    Michael Steele has been a disappointment for the Republican Party. It’s time to bring in someone new. This happens all the time.

    Silly, silly comments from the left that make absolutely no sense at all.

  • VLF1964

    Pretty boneheaded move for John of Orange … fundraisers can be missed or rescheduled – memorial service for the unnecessary massacre of six Americans cannot.

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