‘Back­ing’ Obama

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

House Repub­li­cans would rather the Democrats nom­i­nate Sen. Barack Obama for pres­i­dent be­cause they think Sen. Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton would be more of a threat to Sen. John McCain among mod­er­ate vot­ers, said Rep. Tom Cole, the Repub­li­can Party’s cam­paign chief.

The Oklahoma Repub­li­can said ei­ther Demo­crat is more po­lar­iz­ing than Mr. McCain, but it’s Mr. Obama’s in­ex­pe­ri­ence and ide­o­log­i­cal back­ground that would help Repub­li­cans most.

“I think he is the weaker [Demo­cratic] can­di­date,” Mr. Cole told re­porters April 28.

As chair­man of the Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­gres­sional Com­mit­tee, Mr. Cole is charged with rais­ing money and set­ting strat­egy for GOP House can­di­dates in a year in which ev­ery mem­ber of that cham­ber, a third of the Se­nate and the pres­i­dency will be on the bal­lot.

Mr. Cole said Mr. McCain has a record so bi­par­ti­san on is­sues like cam­paign-fi­nance re­form that con­ser­va­tives some­times find him hard to sup­port. But Mr. McCain’s cen­trist streak ap­peals to the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter, where Mr. Cole be­lieves the con­gres­sional and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions could be de­cided.

Mr. Obama “is by any def­i­ni­tion very lib­eral, to the left of Hil­lary Clin­ton, in a cen­ter-right coun­try,” Mr. Cole said. “That is very, very help­ful to us.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

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