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Nov 13, 2012 2:04 PM by CNN

Paul Ryan backs Price for top GOP leadership role


Rep. Paul Ryan, now one of the highest profile Republican congressmen following his bid for vice president, is backing Rep. Tom Price for a top role in the House GOP leadership over the top Republican woman in the House, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers.

In a letter to colleagues, obtained by CNN Tuesday, Ryan says Price is "uniquely qualified for the job of [Republican] Conference Chairman."

"He was instrumental in drafting our House Republican budget. His vocal leadership on issues like health care, tax reform, and fiscal matters has been vital to our messaging and policy efforts," Ryan writes in the letter. "No one will work harder than Congressman Price at building a strong and compelling communications and policy strategy that reflects the will of our membership and the needs of the nation."

Opposing Price for the slot is McMorris Rogers, a representative from Washington State who was a top surrogate for Mitt Romney and Ryan during the presidential campaign. She is the highest ranking Republican woman in the House, holding the title of vice-chairman of the Republican Conference.

Price, who represents Georgia, is now chair of the Republican Policy Committee and previously served as chair of the Republican Study Committee from 2009-2012. A former orthopedist who has strongly advocated repealing Obamacare, he's well liked by House conservatives.

He said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" Tuesday he was "absolutely" interested in the role of Republican Conference chairman, saying the party was "raring to go, because we've got positive solutions."

"The House Republicans Conference over the past two years have put forward positive solutions based on fundamental principles for all the challenges that we faced. We've sent them over the Senate. They've languished over in there," Price said.

The current GOP Conference chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, is leaving the role to chair the House Financial Services Committee.

Although McMorris Rogers is not formally endorsed by other House leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner, some GOP aides say members of the leadership are quietly supporting her.

--
CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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