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Issa Hints at House Speaker Bid, Downplays Chaffetz Run for Spot

On Friday’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) discussed the state of the House Speaker’s race in the wake of Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) announcement that he was no longer running for the spot, which is soon to be vacated by Rep. John Boehner (R-CA).

Issa said it would be his preference to have someone experienced and has served as a committee chairman.  He included himself and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in that category.

“The fact is, yes, I think that I could potentially be a candidate,” Issa said. “At the same time, I agree with the vast majority of members, I think. We need a Paul Ryan or we need somebody who is a — experienced, b — has been a committee chairman or something other than just up through the leadership ranks. We very definitely need to pick our fights carefully, but we need somebody who is willing to do those fights, when the time comes, because the motion of our party has been to the right. The new members, the members since 2010, they’re more conservative. They’re more interested in real fiscal reform. And they’ve been denied by the K Street, if you will, influence the ability to actually get votes that were fiscally responsible. We’ve had some tough votes.”

On the candidacy of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Issa downplayed his effort and pointed to his tenure as House Oversight Committee chairman.

“Well, look, Jason’s a good man — a honorable man,” Issa added. “But he got his job by going to Boehner and saying he would shut down that rancor that was going on. That he would go along, get along. And he’s done that. He put shining pictures of Utah on the wall and he basically stopped doing it. There hasn’t been a single committee report or staff report published since he’s been chairman. The fact is, he’s a good guy, but whatever he was as a freshman, when he was a fighter on our committee, when he was trying to hold government accountable, he took a break from that. And I think that’s going to hurt him. Not whether I get into the race or not.”

“It’s already hurt him,” he continued. “He didn’t have thirty votes going into the race. I don’t think he’s going to get the 240. But, let’s understand something. I wouldn’t have the hubris to determine whether I’m the 240 candidate or Paul Ryan. This is something where the conference has to dig deep. They have to ask the question, “Who can we unite behind?” This is a job that you can’t run for. You can make yourself available for it. But the conference really has to look hard. Not for who’s got the most whips calling, but who can really make a difference beyond 218. Because the day after you’re speaker, you have to make hard decisions and, like Joe said earlier, you have to be able to go to people and say, “I promise to bring up your issue, but I need you to do this for me now,” and you’ve got to keep those promises. And that was one of those areas that Boehner ran out of the ability to get people to say yes to.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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