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House speaker vote: John Boehner wins reelection after tough few weeks (+video)

John Boehner's reelection to a second term as House speaker followed failed negotiations with Obama, a divisive fiscal cliff vote, and a bashing over delays in relief aid for superstorm Sandy.

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“There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner,” Governor Christie said in a news conference in Newark, N.J., on Wednesday.

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Rep. Peter King (R) of New York called Boehner’s refusal to take up the disaster-relief package a “disgrace.”

Facing an untimely revolt a day before elections for speaker, Boehner and House Republican leaders on Wednesday reversed course and scheduled a vote Friday on a first installment of $9.7 billion for disaster funding. Another vote to deliver more aid will take place by Jan. 15, GOP leaders say.

Ron Meyer, a spokesman for American Majority Action, a conservative group that worked to oust Boehner, said before Thursday's vote that there were as many as 20 GOP lawmakers ready to vote “nay,” forcing a second ballot and, possibly, a Boehner resignation.

“His approval rating is the worst of any politician in Washington,” he added. “There is a legitimate movement to get him out."

Boehner famously survived being kicked out of House GOP leadership after being implicated in a coup to topple Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1998.  He worked his way back through, in part, his committee work as chair of the panel that worked out President George W. Bush’s signature No Child Left Behind law.

As speaker, Boehner pledged to restore the House as a body where members can legislate through committee work, not just vote along partisan lines on bills drafted by party leadership.

Critics have said Boehner has failed to control his caucus. But supporters say his style has been to allow views in the caucus to be fully expressed and allow the caucus to work as a deliberative body, even if it means exposing rifts in Republican ranks.

“He lets the House work its will and takes the defeat,” says Rep. Tom Cole (R) of Oklahoma, the deputy whip. “That's why we are where we are today. That also means you’ve got an exceptionally strong speaker.”

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