Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador is joining a group of colleagues today for “Conversations with Conservatives,” an on-the-record Q-and-A with reporters and bloggers featuring a dozen GOP congress members. Labrador and Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, and Jeff Landry, R-Louisiana, are chairing the new monthly confab, which will feature different members each month along with the three. Billed as a Tax Day discussion, today's session started off with a question about a highway funding bill; you can watch live here.
Asked if any of the members are excited about the candidacy of Mitt Romney, who was endorsed by House Speaker John Boehner today, Labrador said, “I am actually excited. I have not endorsed any candidate. I'm excited that the process is over, I'm excited that we have potentially a nominee who is going to be taking it to Obama. … We are going to be able to contrast the visions between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. … I think it's time for conservatives to get behind the nominee. It's time for conservatives to start getting excited.”
That discussion was interrupted online by a Harley-Davidson commercial, and the online view is out of focus, but members said they welcome the forum. Labrador said of Romney, “He needs to reach out to every one of us who's sitting at this table, and to all the other conservative leaders throughout the United States to make sure he's not just speaking to a few select groups, that he's speaking to the grass roots … all the people who were passionate in the 2010 election. … because that's how he's going to win. … We can help him with that, but he needs to reach out.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said, “I'm not as excited as I am desperate.” He cited gas prices, saying, “It's a desperate situation. … People in America, conservatives that I know, are very desperate to replace this president.” Ellen Carmichael, Labrador's spokeswoman, reports that there's a standing-room only crowd for today's forum in the visitors' center of the U.S. House of Representatives.