Political Parties Fight Over Power

Republicans, Democrats fight amongst themselves to see who gets power.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2010— -- The celebrations following Tuesday's elections are over, and now the political parties are clashing amongst themselves.

The Democrats and the Republicans are both engaged in intraparty struggles to determine which members their caucus will hold leadership positions in the new Congress.

Republican euphoria was tempered by Michele Bachmann's announcement of her intention to run for the No. 4 position in the House: the Republican Conference Chairmanship. The GOP leadership has been prepared to back conservative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, but will now have to closely reexamine their options.

Bachmann formed a tea party caucus earlier this year with a few dozen members of the Republican Party, and told to ABC News on election night that she plans on forming a constitutional conservative caucus when she returns to Washington.

It is not yet clear if the newly-elected GOP members will join Bachmann's coalition, if some of them will attempt to form their own group, or if they will choose to stay independent.

ABC News Political Director Amy Walter contends that the Republican leaders will make every effort to avoid their first debate as the majority to be about whether they have done enough for tea party candidates.

"The concern if you're a Republican is, that instead of focusing on the issues, like overturning or stopping a lot of what the Democratic congress did, they're going to be spending a whole lot more time just repairing or worrying about potential riffs in the Republican caucus," Walter says.

When asked by "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer if tea party darling Michele Bachmann would be his choice for the GOP Conference chairmanship, presumptive Speaker John Boehner dodged the question.

"These decisions are made by all of the Republican members of our conference. Who the members decide ought to be in their leadership -- is their decision. And I'm going to respect that decision," Boehner said.

"My instinct is that we have a leadership table that reflects the broad group of members that are in our conference," Boehner said when Sawyer pressed him on whether he thought it would be important to have a tea party member in the GOP leadership.

On the Democrats' side, Nancy Pelosi stunned her caucus by announcing that she intends to run for minority leadership. It is almost certain that she will have enough votes to win when the caucus comes together to vote.

In a letter to her Democratic colleagues Saturday, Pelosi highlighted the support she has received publically and privately from House Democrats who survived the GOP's landslide victory.

"I have been very gratified by the extensive and enthusiastic support I have received," Pelosi wrote. "I am grateful for the confidence that has been placed in me to be House Democratic Leader."

"What this shows is they didn't necessarily get the message of the 2010 election. So that's not a good sign," Walter says about Pelosi remaining as leader of the House Democrats.

Moderate Democrats have voiced their doubts about Pelosi as minority leader.

"There has to be a viable alternative," Rep. Heath Schuler, D-N.C., said Friday. "We got swept away. And I use the old football analogy. I've been in that situation where you lose games and they replace you."

It will be a difficult situation for President Obama to navigate, according to Walter.

"The president has to figure out how he works, not just with a Republican speaker, but he then still has to work with [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and Pelosi," Walter says. "It may make his job harder."

With liberal leadership in Congress, Obama will attempt to stick close to the center in order not alienate more independent voters, which he so badly needs to win back before the 2012 Presidential elections.

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