This photo combo shows President Barack Obama in Chapel Hill, N.C. on April 24, 2012, and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on April 18, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C. Obama and his likely GOP opponent, Romney, agree on an issue of importance to college students: Keeping the interest rate low on a popular federally subsidized student loan issued to low-and middle-income students. (AP Photo)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- As Mitt Romney has emerged as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Republicans in Congress are increasingly taking their cues from him -- even if it causes heartburn and grumbling among conservatives unhappy about having to beat a tactical retreat.
That dynamic was on full display this week as House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio moved quickly to defuse a student loan grenade President Barack Obama threw at them. At the same time, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky sidestepped attempts by Democrats to tag Republicans as soft on violence against women.
It's a defensive game for Republicans, who are determined to avoid the kinds of stumbles they endured last year when they lost the political battle over renewing Obama's payroll tax cut.