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GOP watch: The Crying Game

Gail Collins wonders how Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton would have been perceived if they cried openly like Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner has. “The most arresting moment [in the “60 Minutes” interview] came when Boehner told Stahl he can no longer make visits to schools, or even look at the little kids on the playground, because he immediately starts crying. That had me alarmed. I thought there was going to be some terrible story about an ailing child that would then force me to have warm and sympathetic thoughts about John Boehner.”

“But no. The reason, Boehner finally choked out, was because ‘making sure these kids have a shot at the American dream, like I did, is important.’ We will stop again briefly to imagine what would have happened if Nancy Pelosi, upon being elected speaker, had confessed on national TV that she was unable to visit schools in her district because the sight of little children made her break into sobs.”

Priebus the front-runner? Some have considered Wisconsin GOP chairman Reince Priebus a front runner for RNC chair, but a Republican working for another candidate sent CNN photos trying to capitalize on Priebus’ ties to Michael Steele. The photo gallery shows various shots of Steele and Priebus together, titled “Dream Team” and with snarky captions like, “The good ol' days: Reince flies Chairman Steele around America in style, vouching for his leadership" and “The whip operation under the guidance of Reince," showing Priebus working to get Steele elected in 2009.

Henry Barbour, Haley’s nephew and a committeeman from Mississippi, defended Priebus, saying, per CNN: "People tend to shoot at the frontrunner, and he is the frontrunner. "I am sure some of Reince's opponents are shooting at him because they view him as the competition."

“Former Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.) won’t run against Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele but won’t endorse him either,” Roll Call writes. “Coleman cautioned his decision not to challenge Steele should not be interpreted as an endorsement, suggesting that he might very well back another candidate in the RNC leadership elections scheduled for Jan. 14. Coleman declined to explicitly criticize Steele or call for him to step aside.” He said, “My not running is not an endorsement of the chairman,” Coleman said, adding: “I’m still willing to provide service to my party.”