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Boehner plays offense in bid to gain House seats

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TAMPA, Fla. — The House’s No. 1 Republican said Monday he is “on the offense” to pickup seats in the chamber despite most political experts predicting Democrats will chip away at the GOP’s 49-seat advantage.

Speaker John A. Boehner, while speaking at luncheon sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor
with reporters gathered here for the Republican National Convention, said his goal to build on his party’s historic gains during the 2010 congressional elections — not defend its advantage.

“My goal is to gain seats. We’re on the offense and I’m going to keep my team on offense all through the election,” the Ohio lawmaker said.

He said the GOP is determined to woo several key segments of potential voters the party historically has had trouble attracting, including blacks, Hispanics and the young. And because of the sluggish economy has hit those groups harder than others, the time is ripe for Republicans to make significant inroads with them.

“It’s important for our party, if we’re going to be a national party, we’ve got to reach out, and that means showing up in their neighborhoods,” he said. “It’s a tall order but it can be done.”

Mr. Boehner added that while many minorities and young adults might shun Republican presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, “I suggest to you they won’t show up to vote for the president either.”

He also acknowledged while the GOP long has trailed the Democratic Party in attracting women voters, his Republican economic platform — which includes lowering taxes and reducing federal regulations on businesses — will resonate with women and help his party shrink the gender gap.

“American women, their No. 1 concern is the economy and jobs. They’re the ones that are responsible for their households in many cases for paying most of the bills,” he said. “And this economy is hurting women more than it’s hurting men.”

The speaker said the GOP’s decision to cancel the bulk of Monday’s convention activities due to Tropical Storm Isaac is only a minor setback, and suggested that that the traditional four-day convention schedule is too long.

“Given as much news that people get today and the way they get their news, I’m not sure having a four-day convention for the future makes a lot of sense,” he said. “But I’m sure that the [Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee] will asses whether this type of convention is worth the tremendous resources that are put into it.”

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