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McMorris Rodgers wants more women in GOP House leadership

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With the House Republican leadership hierarchy facing the prospect of being a nearly all-male club, the lone woman in the caucus’ inner circle says she “would love to see another woman around the leadership table.”

“I think it is important that the leadership table, that our committee chairmen, that our conference in general reflects America,” Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, told MSNBC Wednesday. 

“We want to put the best person possible in every position, but I think it’s also helpful to have that diverse perspective around the table. And that’s all taken into consideration as the members make these decisions.”

Mrs. Rodgers, who is seeking re-election as vice chairman, could be the only woman in leadership when House Republicans elect leaders next week. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is running for chairman of the House Republican Conference but is considered a long shot against Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas.

Representative-elect Kristi Noem of South Dakota also has expressed interest in vying for the House Republican freshman class representative to the party leadership.

Mrs. Rodgers, unlike many of her House GOP colleagues, says she hasn’t taken sides in the Bachmann/Hensarling contest, saying that “both Michele and Jeb bring a lot to the table, and it’s good for us to have the debate.”

Meanwhile, longtime California Rep. George Miller says House Democrats are solidly behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s quest to remain as the party’s top leader in the chamber, calling her a “woman of great talent.” 

“I think, overwhelmingly, the caucus knows that they want and they need the leadership and the talents and the skills of Nancy Pelosi,” Mr. Miller told MSNBC on Wednesday. 

Despite repeated Republican attempts to demonize her during the 2010 congressional election season, Mr. Miller said the speaker — who is running to be the new House Minority Leader – is not backing down.

“The last thing [Republicans] want is her on the playing field,” said Mr. Miller, who won a 19th term to the House last week. 

“What the Republicans and others in these campaigns are asking us to do is to say, well, because the Jets fans are booing Eli Manning, take him off the field. They can boo all they want. We’re going to leave the most effective people on our playing field leading this caucus.”

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