RNC chairman defends House Republicans' 'no' votes on Bush's plan.

Republican National Chairman Mike Duncan was in Boise and Meridian on Tuesday for a state GOP fundraiser and meetings with area Republicans.

"I wanted to come here to know what it was gonna be like when I got to heaven with all the officials elected Republican in this state," Duncan said at the Ada County GOP headquarters in Meridian. "This is the only place that I can come and claim that honor."

The four members of the Idaho congressional delegation are Republican, and the GOP holds all seven statewide offices and 75 percent of the Legislature.

After the event, Duncan sat down with the Statesman to talk:

Q: David Brooks, the conservative columnist at the New York Times, wrote Tuesday that House Republicans' opposition to President Bush's financial rescue plan is a "single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party." How damaging was it to have two-thirds of the House GOP to oppose their president?

A: Obviously, I disagree with his premise. I believe that the leadership put forward in the last two weeks has been from the Republican Party. It's been from the president of the United States, it's been from John McCain, and it's been from the Republican leaders in the House and Senate. . . Unfortunately, many Democrats didn't vote for this....I believe, at the end of the day, the American people are going to see that the Republicans offered leadership and the Democrats offered partisanship."