VIDEO: Republican Struggle Widens As Boehner Rebukes Hard Right

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You know, they pushed into this fight to defund "Obamacare" and to shut down the government. Most of you know, my members know, that wasn't exactly the strategy that I had in mind. But if you recall, the day before the government reopened, one of the people that -- one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work. Are you kidding me?"

John Boehner

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican establishment's much-anticipated pushback against the tea-party wing is underway.

House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday renewed his denunciation of groups that try to defeat GOP incumbents they consider too willing to compromise with Democrats.

House Speaker John Boehner is fed up with critics who say he and his GOP colleagues aren't conservative enough.

Boehner is speaking out against right-leaning interest groups like Heritage Action. The Ohio Republican is defending a budget agreement that Heritage Action and other groups attacked before it was even made public.

Boehner told reporters Thursday that such conservative critics -- quote -- "have lost all credibility."

The House speaker blames the groups for pushing GOP lawmakers into the confrontation over the president's health care law that touched off a partial government shutdown in October and hurt Republicans politically.

Some Republican loyalists wonder what took so long.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently moved to help mainstream Republicans in party primaries.

But Boehner's high-profile outburst will push the effort to the GOP's front burners.

Cheering him on are mainstream Republicans who angrily watched for three years as hard-right groups exercised remarkable clout in the party, the Congress and elections.

Conservative leaders say these Republicans are making a big mistake that will damage GOP efforts to enact legislation and win future elections.

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