A conversation with Charlie Dent

Published by Karen Langley on .

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, a Republican whose district stretches from Dauphin to Northampton counties in central and eastern Pennsylvania, addressed the Pennsylvania Press Club in Harrisburg. A few highlights:

1) That NYT A1 profile? His son was not impressed:

"When that story appeared, I said to my son -- he's 17 -- I said, 'Hey William, I'm on the front page of the New York Times.' He said, 'I'm not impressed.' He said. 'I was on the front page of the New York Times before you ever were, Dad.' ... He was right. In 2007, Nancy Pelosi became the speaker. She allowed all the children on swearing-in day to appear right next to her on the rostrum. So he and 40 other children ran up there."

2) He's still advocating compromise:

"We need to realize that we operate in a system where the likelihood of garnering everything we want, all the time, is very low. But it is incumbent on us to keep things running, and running even if the going gets pretty tough. In such a system compromise is the oil that keeps the engine working. Incremental progress is not tantamount to capitulation. Pragmatism is not incompatible with conservatism."

3) He has some thoughts for the party:

"I think it's incumbent for us as Republicans to take a step back and reevaluate what it means to be a conservative. When I hear some conservatives labeling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, as the establishment, as though it were a slur, I can't help but wonder -- I just can't help but wonder -- when the conservative movement got an ideological transfusion from Occupy Wall Street."

4) He says Secretary Sebelius should consider stepping down over the ACA rollout:

"You would think that somebody should be offering a resignation by now. This implementation, rollout, has just been a disaster beyond what any of us would have ever imagined. At some point someone has to accept responsibility, and I certainly think that Secretary Sebelius -- if anybody should think about resigning, it should be her."

5) He's not running for governor:

Question: "Given recent polling, your name has been mentioned as a GOP alternative candidate to Tom Corbett. Is this a possibility?"

Answer: "No. I'm not running for governor, thank you."

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