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From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume :

On the Republican Leadership Races

FRED BARNES: Boehner’s probably going to win . . . [and] all the Republicans I talked to today seem to think he’s going to win.

HUME: They don’t feel like he led them to defeat?

BARNES: No, you remember, he just came in — he’d only been the Republican majority leader for a few months, and . . . they think [he’s] somewhat of a risk taker, bolder than say, Denny Hastert was, as the leader of house Republicans before the devastation of the election. And the problem for Roy blunt is that if Boehner wins, the thought is that there will be — they will want a new face as the whip.

HUME: So, they can’t put the same team back out on the field in the leadership position?

BARNES: Yeah, probably not. Of course Mike Pence is running against Boehner and he, you know, he’s very impressive. A guy who hadn’t been there very long, but has sort of a narrow conservative base, relatively narrow and so if you had to bet, you’d say Boehner and somebody else right now. I don’t mean to rule out Roy blunt, who’s capable and well liked. But if — and then there’s one other figure here, who’s not running, who you have to pay attention to, if Blunt decides that maybe he can’t win it, then his deputy, Eric Cantor of Virginia would step in and win easily. . . .

MICHAEL BARONE: You know, John Boehner was first elected to Congress in 1990. He’s one of the few members who says, “I remember what it was like to serve in a Democratic Congress” and he didn’t like it very much. And he was one of the sort of party rebels there. He’s a guy [who wouldn’t take] pork barrel projects for his district when he first ran for Congress.

HUME: No earmarks?

BARONE: No earmarks, no nothing. He says when he first ran he said to his constituents, “If you want a guy who’s going to bring back federal money to your district, you should vote for somebody else, because I’m not going to play that game.” He’s got a safe Republican district, so it’s easier to say that.

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