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 firstname.lastname@example.org.