TAMPA, Fla. — Give Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling credit. The man knows how to ward off an unwelcome question.
Hensarling, a powerful player in the House Republican caucus who attended this past week's Republican convention in Tampa, may soon face a tough choice.
He is both vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and the fourth-highest ranking member in the GOP caucus. In recent years, Hensarling has also been a leading voice in the anti-tax movement. He served on the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission, as well as the bipartisan congressional "super committee" that failed to reach an agreement on alternatives to scheduled spending cuts.
With Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., scheduled to end his tenure this year as Financial Services chairman, Hensarling is well-positioned to take the helm of the committee. That would give him a pivotal role on reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an issue on which he has long been vocal.
But does he want the Financial Services Committee job? Or would he prefer another post in the House Republican leadership?
Sitting on a couch in the Tampa Convention Center, Hensarling smiled at the question.
"I want to get Mitt Romney elected president and get Paul Ryan elected vice president," he said. "So you can ask me that question after Election Day."