GOP Leadership Worried About Damage To Party's Reputation From Base

11/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"I would point out that the greatest anxiety about the president's policies tends to come from independents," he said.

Long before the tea parties or Wilson's outburst, Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had struggled to moderate the rhetorical excesses of House conservatives hammering away on Obama's birth certificate, decrying the creation of "death panels" and ferreting out signs of creeping socialism.

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