WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner says he understands Republican concerns about the bitter tone of the party's nomination fight in Florida and the prospect of a dragged-out battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. He says the question of which GOP candidate faces President Barack Obama in the general election will resolve itself. He also solidified the emerging GOP talking point that the Newt Gingrich-Mitt Romney slugfest is just like the 2008 contest between then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
"I understand that people are concerned about how long the primary process is dragging out," Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill. "I would remind people that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a fight that went through June of 2008. I think everybody just needs to relax and this will resolve itself."
Boehner is the nation's highest-ranking elected Republican and he is neutral in the nomination contest.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday also made the same comparison between the 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
"It's reminiscent of the contest between Obama and Clinton on the other side in 2008," McConnell said. "Obviously that ended at some point. I think it was about June. And it didn't seem to have done them any harm in the general election, and I don't think this contest is going to do us any harm either."
Romney defeated Gingrich in Florida's primary on Tuesday.
Of the four contests held to date, Romney has won two. Gingrich and Rick Santorum each have won one.
Next up are caucuses in Nevada and Maine on Saturday.