Rep. Cao to Steele: You Need Me

Nov 8, 2009 1:58pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: The decision by Rep. Joseph Cao, R-La., to vote for the Democrats’ health care bill last night would put him directly in the Republican Party’s firing line, under the standard enunciated by RNC Chairman Michael Steele last week.
On ABCNews.com’s “Top Line” last week, Steele said of Republicans who support President Obama on health care or the stimulus bill: “So candidates who live in moderate to slightly liberal districts have got to walk a little bit carefully here, because you do not want to put yourself in a position where you’re crossing that line on conservative principles, fiscal principles, because we’ll come after you.” Asked about those comments on CNN today, Cao laughed and said he “would like to remind” Steele that Republicans celebrated his election to Congress last year — in one of the most Democratic districts in the country — as a symbol of GOP diversity. Cao is the first Vietnamese-American member of Congress. He also pointed out that, if Republicans want to win back control of the House, they’ll need to control seats in Democratic-leaning districts.
 
“[Steele] has the right to come after those members who do not conform to party lines, but I would hope that he would work with us in order to adjust to the needs of the district and to hold a seat that the Republican Party would need,” Cao said. Steele and his Democratic counterpart, Tim Kaine, were guests on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” today — where they engaged in a feisty (and touchy) debate.  

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