POLITICS: PennAve

Why the White House says Eric Cantor lost

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White House,Virginia,Brian Hughes,Immigration,Campaigns,PennAve,Lindsey Graham,Eric Cantor,Josh Earnest

The White House on Wednesday suggested that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's shocking defeat in his GOP primary Tuesday happened because Republicans got so little done on Capitol Hill.

“I do think that this outcome does provide some evidence to indicate that the strategy of opposing nearly everything and supporting hardly anything is not just a bad governing strategy, it is not a very good political strategy, either,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said in a briefing with reporters aboard Air Force One.

Little-known economics professor David Brat embarrassed Cantor, the heir apparent to Speaker John Boehner, in the Republican primary Tuesday. The upset had ripple effects across Washington, setting off a mad scramble for Cantor's leadership post, which he is expected to leave at the end of July.

Cantor will announce his decision later Wednesday.

Many believe that Cantor's loss destroyed any prospect of the House passing immigration reform this year, as the Virginia lawmaker paid a heavy political price for supporting a GOP version of the Dream Act for young illegal immigrants.

However, the White House hit back at suggestions Wednesday that Cantor’s loss had any influence on lawmakers reaching a deal on the controversial issue.

“Majority Leader Cantor campaigned very aggressively against commonsense, bipartisan immigration reform but yet in the analysis there are some who suggest that his election was a key to getting immigration reform done,” Earnest said dismissively.

“I am not quite sure how people have reached that conclusion,” he added. “It is the view of the White House that there is support all across the country for commonsense bipartisan immigration reform.”

And Earnest pointed to Sen. Lindsey Graham, who easily won the Republican primary in South Carolina Tuesday, as proof that immigration reform supporters could win in conservative areas.

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