Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

Other Than That, Mr. Boehner, How Was Dinner?

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was having dinner at a Capitol Hill Italian restaurant when the returns from Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary race came in showing the Virginia Republican had lost.

“No, you know the rules,” Boehner said when asked if he had any comment when leaving the Trattoria Alberto, which describes itself as “Fine Italian dining in a friendly, neighborhood setting.”

Boehner, in shirtsleeves and with his tie undone, was referring to his typical practice of not answering questions outside of a press conference. His demeanor was somewhat prickly, but not surprising given that he was being unexpectedly pursued after dinner by a few reporters after a stunning defeat for establishment Republicans.

Boehner was joined at dinner by a few other companions and longtime friends, including Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., and Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa.

His party dined on the upper floor of Trattoria Alberto’s converted townhouse in a semi-private room that smelled of cigarette smoke, which, along with red wine, is one of Boehner’s guilty pleasures.

Aides, and possibly others, peeped from a window at the few journalists who were waiting, presumably to pick an opportune time for his departure.

Chambliss and Burr were the first to leave and joked with reporters about not answering questions. “Wait for [Boehner]; we are on the wrong side of the Capitol,” Burr said.

The speaker later released a statement calling Cantor “a good friend and a great leader,” and ended it with a melancholy, “My thoughts are with him and Diana and their kids tonight.”

Earlier in the evening at another Capitol Hill haunt, The Tune Inn, the reaction to the Cantor news was palpable.

Several patrons approached Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., who was having a drink and ordering dinner, to get his take.

Grijalva said he was surprised at the news and worried that the result would push Republicans further to the right on issues, particularly immigration.

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  • Stephen Barlow

    They were allies, but McCarthy is also his ally. I DO expect Boehner to be challenged for speakership by McCarthy and expect one of the mouthy ones like Blackburn or King to get the leader and whip positions. Sensenbrenner, Young, Wolf, Barton, Lamar Smith and Upton most likely don’t WANT theses jobs. They are rich enough on insider trading already.

    Boehner has done his Republican best, but the Tea Party is determined to terrorize this nation into complete Sovietization by the end of the decade or destroy the GOP trying. But when you bring less than 5 dozen bills to the floor for a vote, of course you can call yourself a ‘success’ in the GOP vernacular. I mean, can’t a lawyer who settles EVERY CASE because he’s a lousy litigator CLAIM he’s ‘Undefeated’?

    Cantor’s loss was more about his huge ego and neglect of his constituents in pursuit of his aspirations to the Speakership than Brat’s “fresh” evangelical hardline ultra TEA PARTY retro-stagnation agenda. This guy is another Cruz, Gohmert, King, West, Rubio, Randhole wannabe and only the super heavy gerrymandering of this very affluent Virginia District made this a race. it BACKFIRED badly on Cantor as the district was drawn up to all but Guarantee Cantor 10 years tenure.

    But no Democrat can over come gerrymandering, particularly in the South, so no hope of picking up one of the 17 needed for an ACTIVE LEGISLATURE in this district. I sense a growing discontent with the hardcore GOP and Tea Party minions. The disgust they feel over the intentional extension and suppression of the Recovery among the 99% class Republican voters will show in the polls as any independent candidates will get a surge from the RED voters and might just give the Democrats the House back.

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