Republicans in Congress were plunged into turmoil on Thursday when California Representative Kevin McCarthy, considered the favorite to succeed House Speaker John Boehner, surprisingly dropped out of the race. Nathan Frandino reports.
Congressional Republicans and the media are trying to cut through the chaos on Capitol Hill after the surprise exit of Kevin McCarthy from the speaker's race. Among the first to comment... one of his challengers... Jason Chaffetz of Utah. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, UTAH REPUBLICAN, SAYING: "Absolutely stunned. Did not see that coming." McCarthy was the favorite to succeed outgoing Speaker John Boehner. Boehner was scheduled to retire on October 30th, but will stay on until a successor is elected. McCarthy said his decision was best for the party. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN, SAYING: "The one thing I found in talking to everybody, if we are going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that." The upheaval comes weeks before the U.S. is due to reach the limits on its borrowing authority. Congress must vote to raise the debt limit to avoid a possible default and reach a deal with the White House on spending levels. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said it was too hard to predict the race's impact on the debt deal. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY, SAYING: "If the challenge wasn't previously clear, it is today." And the challenge today, Chaffetz says, is to come together and soon. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, UTAH REPUBLICAN, SAYING: "We need to have a lot more family discussion because we need to find somebody that our whole body can unite behind and do what we were elected to do." And that challenge will have to met soon before government funding runs out on December 11.