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GOP Leaders Send Missive to Frosh Democrats

House Republican leaders on Wednesday sent a letter to 22 mostly freshman Democrats accusing them of being hypocrites for publicly saying they support more American energy but then voting against GOP energy proposals that seek more domestic drilling.

“We’re basically calling on them to put up or shut up,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters. “They say they want more energy, yet they continue to vote with Speaker Pelosi. They can’t have it both ways. … Make sure you’re saying the same thing at home that you’re saying here in Washington, D.C.”

The letter, signed by the entire GOP leadership team, targets several Democrats who have endorsed an expansion of domestic drilling and who may be facing a tough re-election in November. It cites seven instances where each of the 22 Democrats voted against Republican energy proposals seeking offshore and Arctic drilling.

The letter was sent to Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), Nancy Boyda (Kansas), Christopher Carney (Pa.), Don Cazayoux (La.), Travis Childers (Miss.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), Bill Foster (Ill.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Steve Kagen (Wis.), Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Tim Mahoney (Fla.), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Jerry McNerney (Calif.), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Dennis Moore (Kansas), Christopher Murphy (Conn.), Patrick Murphy (Pa.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), Zack Space (Ohio), Tim Walz (Minn.) and John Yarmuth (Ky.).

On another front, Boehner dodged questions about the possibility of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) selecting an abortion rights supporter as his vice presidential running mate. The questions surfaced amid whispers that McCain’s campaign is polling key Republicans for their reaction to a potential running mate in favor of abortion rights, an outcome not in line with conservatives like Boehner.

“Let’s wait and see who Sen. McCain chooses,” Boehner said.

Boehner said he met with McCain advisers Wednesday morning to discuss the status of the campaign and energy issues. Asked whether McCain’s campaign has reached out to him to discuss the effect of a running mate who supports abortion rights on conservatives, Boehner replied, “No.”

The Minority Leader also avoided questions about whether President Bush should veto any energy bill that extends the moratorium on offshore drilling, which is set to expire at the end of September.

“I think the focus ought to be on Congress preventing it from occurring,” Boehner said, referring to the need to keep such a provision from even reaching the president’s desk.

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