Boehner, Cantor Have Awkward Show of Unity

Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:21pm

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Thursday sought to tamp down complaints that Cantor has been the primary obstacle to a deal on the debt limit.

With rumors swirling around Capitol Hill that the Virginia Republican has attempted to use the talks as a way to position himself to the right of Boehner, the two men used a press conference on a balanced budget amendment to demonstrate their unity.

“The Speaker and I have consistently been on the same page,” Cantor insisted when asked about complaints that his handling of the negotiations had caused friction within the leadership team.

In an unusual — and somewhat awkward — display of personal warmth, Boehner moved up alongside Cantor, putting his arm around his second-in-command before telling reporters, “We have been in this fight together. … Any suggestion that the role Eric has played in these meetings is anything but helpful is just wrong.”

Nevertheless, Cantor’s aggressive attitude during talks with the White House and Congressional Democrats has rubbed many Republicans the wrong way, and has led Democrats to quietly begin suggesting the ambitious Virginian is jockeying for a potential challenge to Boehner at some point.

Cantor and his office have consistently denied those rumors.