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.
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