Mitthusiasm: House Conservative Edition

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 17 2012 2:01 PM

Mitthusiasm: House Conservative Edition

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 26: House Republican Policy Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) joins other members of the committee for a news conference on the first day of the oral arguments in the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act March 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. The policy committee members were uniform in their criticism of the health care act and said they would continue to work for its repeal even if the Supreme Court found it constitutional. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Eleven House conservatives, most of them freshmen, held a joint media meet-up this afternoon. No real agenda. The theme was "conversations with conservatives." And the first question that tripped anybody up, from The Hill's Russ Berman, was whether members were "excited" about incoming Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

"Well, first, we're excited about the opportunity to defeat Barack Obama, more than anything," said Rep. Jim Jordan, the shirtsleeved chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

"It's high time that conservatives start getting excited," said Rep. Raul Labrador, "start working for the nominee."

Rep. Joe Walsh (profiled here), argued that Barack Obama's popularity was cratering even in Illinois. "The excitement, the passion in this race," he said, "will come from getting Barack Obama out of the White House."

Rep. Louie Gohmert, the aggressively quotable former judge from Texas, basically conceced the point. "If you're not sure about whether to support Mitt Romney," he joked, w"hether you're liberal, or whether you're very conservative, you ought to be excited, because he's been on your side at one time or another."

You could tell, in the room, that Gohmert had just created a "narrative" against Romney. Why, that was unfair. Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona reported on a meet-up with conservatives in his district last week: "They were literally handing out Romney bumper stickers in the room."

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Gohmert returned to clean up his splatter. "So I'm not completely misunderstood,"* he said, "I'm not as excited as I am desparate."

*Ironically, this was originally marred by a typo.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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