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McCarthy Drops Speaker Bid, Trump Celebrates

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has dropped his bid to replace Ohio Republican John Boehner as speaker of the House, according to numerous reports.

"We're public servants. I have always put this Conference and Country ahead of myself," he tweeted. "We need to unite behind one leader and get to work."

As majority leader he was the logical heir apparent to Boehner, but his on-air linkage of the Benghazi hearings to Hillary Clinton's sagging poll numbers (on Fox's Sean Hannityshow), created major backlash from fellow Republicans for suggesting the process was politicized and handing ammunition to the Democrats, which they used with relish, including two Clinton ads citing the assertion.

Leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted his approval: "Great, Kevin McCarthy drops out of SPEAKER race. We need a really smart and really tough person to take over this very important job!"

The Agenda Project Action Fund, headed by a longtime Democratic strategist, was also celebrating. It had used a Stephen Colbert Late Show bit evoking Communist witch-hunter Joe McCarthy in his comments on the Kevin McCarthy flap in a YouTube video drawing attention to the Colbert comments on the McCarthy comments, and followed that with another video calling for an ethics investigation. A complaint was subsequently lodged by a Democratic congressman.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.