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Republican Eric Cantor wants meeting with Pelosi. Why should she?

June 9, 2009 |  8:32 am

Eric Cantor, the 46-year-old House Minority Whip who some are touting as the future face of the Republican Party, is complaining that he can't get face time with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In a widely circulated interview with The Hill, the Virginia Republican said: “I have been told that Speaker Pelosi doesn’t like to meet with Republicans … I would say that is the case in my instance. I have put in requests to meet with her and have yet to be responded to.”

But our question is: Why should the speaker, answerable to an unwieldy caucus of Democrats who extend from blue dog moderates to urban pit-bull liberals, coping with a full plate of issues from healthcare reform to climate change bills, spend one single minute on the junior leader of the opposition party?

To hear Cantor tell it, she should see him because, well, she should.

“The Speaker intends there to be a broad discussion [on energy] by July 4,” a smiling Cantor said. “Let’s have it. Let’s have it.”


Cantor is not ignoring the White House in his grumbling. On MSNBC today, Cantor alleged that President Obama's $787-billion stimulus plan is not creating jobs, stimulating the economy or easing any of the economic woes it was advertised to address. "They're moving the goal posts," he said.

But mostly, Cantor is targeting Pelosi. And, like a kid who pounds on the table when he doesn't get his way, Cantor is responding to what he sees as the speaker's snub with a full-scale attack on her credentials. 

In a heated exchange on the House floor recently with Pelosi's lieutenant, Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer, Cantor argued that if Pelosi believes the CIA lied to her about use of torture in a 2003 intelligence briefing, she should no longer receive the briefings. 

Hoyer called his logic "incomprehensible," but obviously Cantor, a five-term lawmaker from Richmond, is on a mission, probing for political vulnerability on the Hill and at the White House. So far not much is sticking, but his m.o. seems to be, no harm in throwing spaghetti against the wall until it does.

Still, it seems a bit of a stretch for Pelosi to meet with the No. 2 Republican in the House. As her spokesman Brendan Daly noted, the speaker meets regularly with the No. 1 House Republican, Ohio's John Boehner.

"Maybe Mr. Cantor should talk to his Republican leader, Mr. Boehner, who talks frequently with the speaker and meets with her as needed," he said.

As for Cantor's claim that he's tried repeatedly to meet with Pelosi, Daly said the office can actually find only one request for a meeting.

--Johanna Neuman

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