Magazine article Newsweek

Person of Interest: Chris Chocola

Magazine article Newsweek

Person of Interest: Chris Chocola

Article excerpt

Byline: Lloyd Grove

A conservative macher scarier than the fiscal cliff.

As president of the tax-hating, free-market-loving Club for Growth--currently enforcing ideological purity on congressional Republicans tempted to spritz the rich to avoid fiscal Armageddon--Chris Chocola is the last guy to be praising President Obama.

The 50-year-old Chocola--a plain-spoken, silver-haired former two-term House member from Bristol, Ind., who was defeated in the Democratic landslide of 2006--wants to stop nearly every policy initiative Obama favors. And yet: "One thing no one has ever accused Barack Obama of is flip-flopping. Mitt Romney never bridged the sincerity gap. Voters reward conviction."

Sounds like a lovely pro-Obama ad.

"I have an even better ad," Chocola says. "I have great respect for Nancy Pelosi because she passed health care knowing that her majority would be at risk. But she believed in it so strongly that she stiff-armed the House and got it done. She lost and paid the price--but it is the law today." Republicans, on the other hand, "are always more cautious and worried about what somebody else might say," Chocola claims.

GOP heavyweights have reason to worry about what Chocola thinks. Just ask Indiana's Dick Lugar, the six-term moderate GOP senator who lost his 2012 primary race after the Club for Growth Action super PAC and its regular PAC spent nearly $1.8 million on attack ads against him. It's almost beside the point that the candidate the Washington-based group endorsed, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, lost Nov. …

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