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Rep. Cole faces task of re-gaining Republican control of Congress

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Tom Cole is in his sixth year as a U.S. House member, representing Oklahoma's 4th District. The Moore Republican serves on several influential committees, but his most important work for his party will be as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

It is Cole's duty to recruit and help elect more Republicans to the House in hopes of regaining the GOP's majority status.

"I think our position is not bad," Cole said. "The environment is bad today, but I think the environment is improving."

CHALLENGE
That environment includes a public skeptical of the Republican Party. Several polls indicate Cole's job of helping to regain the majority in the House will be a steep climb.

Cole is well aware of the public's perception of his party, but still said he believes his chances are good for success in the November election.

"If Republicans just get a net gain of one or maintain the current makeup, Tom Cole looks like a genius," said David Wasserman, house editor of The Cook Political Report.

DOWNFALL
Cole pointed to a number of reasons for the 2006 GOP downfall:
" the Iraq war,
" scandals among certain Republican members, and
" the public's weariness with Republican control of Congress and the White House.

But the Oklahoma congressman always seems to see the positive.

"I tell my fellow Republicans when they get down, 'You just went through the worst congressional defeat since Watergate and still have 10 more seats than Ronald Reagan had on his best day,'" he said. "Scott Cooper

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