LaTourette slams tea party reaction
Retiring Congressman urges GOP to moderate
After some tea party leaders blamed Mitt Romney's loss in the presidential election on his lack of conservatism, Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio, a moderate Republican who announced his retirement in July, offered sharp criticism to their reaction.
"There's a one-word phrase we use in Ohio for that: Crap. That's nonsense," LaTourette said Thursday on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."
The co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin, said Wednesday that Republicans nominated a "weak, moderate candidate" who was "hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country club establishment wing of the Republican Party." She added the "presidential loss is unequivocally on them."
LaTourette chided various factions of the GOP, including the tea party, and attributed far-right viewpoints for the party's failure to make big gains on Election Day. Like other high-profile Republicans in the last two days, the Ohio congressman said the party needs to become more inclusive.
"The Republican Party cannot be a national party if we give up the entire East Coast of the United States and say we don't have any Republicans in New England, we don't have any Republicans in the mid-Atlantic states," he said. "We can't continue to dis the Latino voters."
On social issues he added that the GOP needs to "get out of peoples' lives, get out of their bedrooms." His wife, he said, is a Democrat who considered voting Republican this year until Senate hopefuls Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin "opened their mouth(s)" and made controversial comments about rape.
"We sent (women) running back to the Democratic Party because they think we're nutty," LaTourette said.
Describing himself as a centrist Republican-or what he called an "endangered species"-LaTourette said he's leaving Washington out of frustration with the increasingly partisan gridlock in Congress. He pointed to Capitol Hill's inability to pass small bills that normally get bipartisan support, such as the farm bill and the transportation bill.
"That lack of willingness to find common ground on the no-brainer issues really is what put me over the edge," he added.
LaTourette was the key Republican advocate for the so-called Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction and budget plan, which ultimately failed in the House.
Republican David Joyce won the House seat on Tuesday to replace LaTourette in Ohio's 14th Congressional District.