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Boehner quiet on presidential endorsement

April 5, 2012 at 11:34 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- While other Republican leaders in the U.S. House openly back Mitt Romney's GOP presidential bid, House Speaker John Boehner has been mum, aides, aides said.

So far, Boehner has declined to endorse any candidate, despite others actively campaigning on Romney's behalf, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, among others, Roll Call reported Thursday.

Publicly endorsing a candidate could cause more problems than it solves, political operatives said, noting that Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania remain in the race, dividing loyalties. Romney easily won in Boehner's home state of Ohio.

"I think Boehner honestly has been around so long he likes to let these things play out," a GOP operative said. "He probably feels there's no upside."

Also, the speaker "has a big job to do here in the House, and that's what he's focused on," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

Boehner is thought to have been in the Romney camp since the 2008 primary, and sources indicate nothing has changed this election cycle, Roll Call said.

Boehner may have tipped his hand when asked about the candidates in a March 28 interview on NBC's "Today" show.

Boehner dodged a question about what qualified Santorum to be U.S. president but switched gears when asked about Romney.

"I think his business background is probably his strongest suit," Boehner said. "He's a very successful businessman, understands how our economy works, and in a time when the American people are asking, 'Where are the jobs?,' I think that it might be the strongest point that he brings."

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