Rep. Kevin McCarthy, for be­ing de­posed be­fore tak­ing the throne

By Chris Cil­lizza

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK - Have a can­di­date for the worst week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cil­lizza at chris.cil­lizza@wash­post.com.

For­tunes can change so quickly in Washington. Two weeks ago, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) shocked the po­lit­i­cal world by an­nounc­ing that he would re­sign as House speaker. Into the GOP lead­er­ship void stepped Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a ge­nial Cal­i­for­nian who, de­spite hav­ing been elected only in 2006, looked like he would go un­chal­lenged for the top spot.

Then came his in­ter­view with Fox News Chan­nel’s Sean Han­nity, in which McCarthy said a spe­cial com­mit­tee formed to in­ves­ti­gate the 2012 at­tacks on the U.S. diplo­matic com­pound in Beng­hazi, Libya — and thensec­re­tary of state Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s role in the re­sponse — was pri­mar­ily re­spon­si­ble for Clin­ton’s de­clin­ing poll num­bers in the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial race.

Clin­ton im­me­di­ately seized on McCarthy’s com­ments, in­sist­ing that they proved, fi­nally, that Repub­li­cans were seek­ing to politi­cize the deaths of four Amer­i­cans.

Things only got worse from there. A let­ter cir­cu­lated by Rep. Wal­ter B. Jones (R-N.C.) this past week ask­ing House lead­er­ship can­di­dates to con­fess any “mis­deeds” in their per­sonal lives led to ram­pant ru­mor-mon­ger­ing about po­ten­tial skele­tons in McCarthy’s closet. And on Wed­nes­day, the day be­fore the GOP con­fer­ence was to vote for speaker, the House Free­dom Cau­cus, the hard­est of hard-core con­ser­va­tives, en­dorsed long-shot Rep. Daniel Web­ster (R-Fla.) over McCarthy.

By the time his col­leagues gath­ered Thurs­day morn­ing, McCarthy was reel­ing, find­ing him­self well short of a ma­jor­ity of sup­port. Still, no one ex­pected that he would re­move him­self from the race en­tirely — dash­ing the am­bi­tions that he seemed so close to re­al­iz­ing just a fort­night ago.

Kevin McCarthy, for watch­ing your ca­reer flash be­fore your eyes, you had the worst week in Washington. Con­grats, or some­thing.

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