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House GOP leaders scramble after accidentally telling the truth

John Boehner and Cathy McMorris Rodgers accidentally told the truth last week about healthcare and immigration. But don't worry, they're awfully sorry now.
Speaker of the House John Boehner with House House GOP leaders, speaks with reporters following a Republican strategy session, at the Capitol on Oct. 15, 2013.
Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks with reporters following a Republican strategy session, at the Capitol on Oct. 15, 2013.
With a tip of the hat to Michael Kinsley, it appears half the House Republican leadership committed gaffes in recent days by accidentally telling the truth. They're now scrambling to reverse course.
Late last week, for example, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the chair of the House Republican Conference, conceded to her local newspaper that the Affordable Care Act is unlikely to be repealed. Though she wants to "look at reforming the exchanges," the local report added that McMorris Rodgers "said the framework established by the law likely will persist and reforms should take place within its structure."
This was a perfectly sensible position for a House GOP leader to take. Yesterday, the congresswoman's office assured the right she has no use for such reasonableness.

"The headline is not an accurate or representative portrayal of what the congresswoman said in the interview, what her voting record reflects, or what she believes. She will continue fighting to repeal Obamacare at every opportunity moving forward and replace it with patient-centered reforms," McMorris Rodgers spokesman Nate Hodson said.

Also last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) conceded that opposition from rank-and-file House Republicans is to blame for the demise of immigration reform, and he was filmed openly mocking their reluctance to work hard. This morning, he walked it all back.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) reiterated Tuesday that he believes that the major impediment to moving forward with comprehensive immigration reform is a distrust of President Obama, and not an unwillingness of the members of his caucus to take up the legislation. [...] Boehner reassured members of the GOP House caucus during a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning that he was not mocking them and that he believes Obama is the reason immigration reform has not moved forward.

The message from Boehner and McMorris Rodgers couldn't be more obvious: they're awfully sorry they got caught accidentally telling the truth.
This isn't even a close call. In McMorris Rodgers' case, what she told her local paper made perfect sense. The Affordable Care Act isn't going anywhere, so it stands to reason policymakers should move past trying to destroy "Obamacare" and start looking for how best to make the system work effectively.
So why does her office insist she'll "continue fighting to repeal Obamacare at every opportunity"? Why bother? How many millions of Americans will lose coverage if she succeeds?
As for Boehner, what the Speaker said last week was entirely true: the "blame Obama" talking point is transparently dumb, so Boehner's candor about who ultimately bears responsibility was a welcome change of pace. Why run back to Capitol Hill now to deny what is plainly true?
Worse, Boehner told reporters, "There was no mocking."
Mr. Speaker, there's no point in fibbing when we've seen the video.