John Boehner’s Fond Farewell to Eric Cantor

National Journal
Marina Koren
June 11, 2014, 1:44 p.m.

House Re­pub­lic­ans are really sad to see House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor go.

“He’s a be­loved per­son,” said one. “My heart is broken,” said an­oth­er. Speak­er John Boehner ap­par­ently even got choked up as he de­livered a trib­ute to Can­tor dur­ing a spe­cial meet­ing Wed­nes­day with the Re­pub­lic­an caucus, be­fore Can­tor an­nounced to the pub­lic that he will step down as ma­jor­ity lead­er fol­low­ing his Tues­day primary loss.

Here’s how Boehner bid his col­league farewell from lead­er­ship, ac­cord­ing to ex­cerpts of his pre­pared re­marks:

This is a speech I nev­er ex­pec­ted to give. I want to start by of­fer­ing a heart­felt thanks to Eric and his staff for their ser­vice to our con­fer­ence, our in­sti­tu­tion and our coun­try.

We’ve been through a lot to­geth­er. When I was elec­ted ma­jor­ity lead­er eight and a half years ago, Eric was there, as the chief deputy whip. He’s al­ways been there. There’s no one who works harder, or puts more thought, in­to ad­van­cing our prin­ciples and the solu­tions we want to en­act for the Amer­ic­an people.

Win­ston Churchill once fam­ously said: “Suc­cess is not fi­nal, fail­ure is not fatal: it is the cour­age to con­tin­ue that counts.” As one who suffered a tough de­feat my­self in 1998, I can tell you there’s plenty of wis­dom in that state­ment.

Eric, we sa­lute you, and we thank you, and your amaz­ing staff as well. We’re los­ing a lead­er, but you’ll nev­er stop be­ing our col­league and our friend.

This is the time for unity; the time for fo­cus — fo­cus on the thing we all know to be true: the fail­ure of Barack Obama’s policies and our ob­lig­a­tion to show the Amer­ic­an people we of­fer them not just a vi­able al­tern­at­ive, but a bet­ter fu­ture.

For oth­er House Re­pub­lic­ans, however, this is the time to start hust­ling: The race for the next ma­jor­ity lead­er has already be­gun.

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