House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) today defended his run for speaker of the House, telling reporters outside of a caucus meeting that his comments on the Benghazi committee could have been said “in a different manner.”
McCarthy’s remarks last week on Hannity — “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today?” — prompted Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to announce his run for the speaker’s gavel.
“I think at any given time, somebody could always say something better. Over time, we’ll prove that we have a very good message,” McCarthy said today.
“I think the job of the speaker is to be a team captain, all part of a team. We’ve got a lot of members inside this conference that lead a very good job of getting the message out, and we will continue to do it.”
House Speaker John Bohener (R-Ohio), standing next to his majority leader, confirmed that “there’s going to be an election for speaker on October 29th, and I am confident that we’ll have a new speaker on that day.”
Of McCarthy’s explanation for his Benghazi comments, Boehner added, “There’s not one American who in the course of their lifetime wouldn’t rather have the opportunity to say words over again. Not one — there’s not one American that hasn’t had this experience.”
McCarthy was asked about another comment he made on Hannity last week: grading Boehner at a B- for his tenure as speaker.
“I think I said something to him about it,” Boehner quipped.
“Wait, wait, wait,” McCarthy replied. “And I saw the Speaker the next morning. You’ve got to understand, I think that’s the highest grade I ever got. So B-minus.”
Asked if he agreed with McCarthy’s assessment, Boehner said, “I’m not into grading people, and the gentleman from California has got his opinion. I’m sure others have higher opinions and lower opinions.”