TAMPA – House Speaker John Boehner Monday acknowledged Republicans face significant gender and ethnic gaps with Democrats, but dismissed the chances those weaknesses will end up effecting the party’s chances in November.
Speaking to reporters at a Monitor Breakfast here at the Republican convention, Boehner acknowledged that “there’s been a gender gap between the two parties for a long, long time … given the concerted effort by our friends on the democrat side to declare this war on women. There was never a war on women.”
“We’ve had a gender gap amongst men on our side for a long time,” Boehner noted, adding that in the end, “I think American women, their number one concern is economy and jobs … [and] this economy is hurting women more than it is men.”
As for the massive deficit of support from Latinos and black voters, Boehner said that while “we’ve never done well with those groups … Think about who this economic downturn has effected the most. Blacks, Hispanics young people.”
Boehner also predicted that the economic problems facing the country “will help us recruit more of those people.”
“They may not show up to vote for our candidate [this year] but I suggest to you they won’t show up to vote for the president either,” Boehner said.
Still Boehner conceded that the party faces an uphill battle.
“We’ve got to reach out. That means showing up in their neighborhoods. It’s a tall order but it can be done,” Boehner said.
As for his party’s chances this year, Boehner said “I think we’re in a strong position to keep our majority and maybe even expand it,” noting that he has spent a significant amount of time this month travelling to help raise money for candidates, particularly challengers to Democratic incumbents and in open districts.
And he said Republicans need to remain on the offensive.
“Frankly I want to use more of our resources to be on offense rather than defense,” Boehner said.
“We’re on offense and I’m going to keep our team on offense all the way through the election,” he added.
John Stanton is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New Orleans. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
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