Rahm Emanuel Hits Republicans as a 'Regional Party'

Emanuel says anybody would normally change after suffering 2 defeats, but the GOP hasn't.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Former Clinton aide and ex-Chicago Congressman Rahm Emanuel can't take his political hat off despite his new and broader role as chief of staff to President Obama. Case in point: Today he was asked about the woes of the Republican Party, and he blamed the GOP for failing to change strategies after losing two elections in a row. Saying that the Republicans are at their lowest point in two decades, he expressed surprise that they haven't reversed course and started to produce new ideas or significant policy alternatives to the Democrats. Normally, he said, parties rebound after losing back-to-back elections, because they shift strategies. "Usually, you rebound. You don't go lower," he bellowed at a Christian Science Monitor newsmaker breakfast. "Usually, they change." He blamed the party's defense of the status quo on issues like healthcare and also the reduction of moderate voices for its plight. "They went from a national party to a regional party," he said. Earlier this week, however, GOP officials told Whispers that they are seeing a significant uptick in potential House and Senate candidates expressing an interest in running in 2010, in part because they want to stop the Obama agenda and they see the public starting to sour on the president's policies. "Let them call us the fading, regional party," said a House Republican leadership aide. "We see things changing for us."

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