- - Sunday, January 23, 2011

HOUSE

Cantor: Birthplace question no issue

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, said Sunday he thinks President Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen and that questions on the issue have no place in Capitol Hill policymaking discussions.

“I don’t think it’s an issue that we need to address at all,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It is not an issue that even needs to be on the policymaking table right now whatsoever.”

Still, Mr. Cantor said there was no need to denounce as crazy the so-called “birthers,” who think Mr. Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate is fake and that he was born outside the U.S. and thus ineligible to be president.

“I don’t think it’s nice to call anyone crazy, OK?” Mr. Cantor told the show’s host David Gregory. “Why is it that you want me to go and engage in name calling?”

Mr. Cantor added: “I think the president’s a citizen of the United States. … I believe this president wants what’s best for this country. It’s just how he feels we should get there, that there are honest policy differences.”

SENATE

Hutchison says victory was hers

Retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican, said Sunday she thinks she would have won re-election in 2012 and defended herself as a strong conservative, but she acknowledged that attacks from some tea party groups and bloggers have been “depressing.”

“I am a reliable conservative,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I read the blogs, and it gets kind of depressing, frankly, to read those blogs.”

Mrs. Hutchison acknowledged criticism from the fiscally conservative tea party movement that she fought too hard to bring federal money to her home state, but she defended her actions.

“I think I’m elected to support my state, and I have supported every spending cut, every overall spending cut,” she said.

Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, is among the leaders of the tea party movement who have questioned Mrs. Hutchison’s conservative credentials, saying almost immediately after her Jan. 13 retirement announcement that her departure gives the GOP a chance to replace her with a strong conservative.

SENATE

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