Can this marriage be saved? GOP, hard-right groups

By By DONNA CASSATA

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders and several hard-right groups are displaying the classic signs of a political divorce.

The recent eagerness of House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to lash out at groups that have given them fits has unshackled other Republicans to question the motivation of those organizations.

The outside groups, for their part, suspect that Boehner has his own hidden motive. They think he may want to move past their budget issues so he can tackle immigration legislation early next year, before the first round of 2014 primaries.

Groups such as the Senate Conservatives Fund and Club for Growth often disparage Republicans they accuse of following the path of least resistance in Washington. They vow to replace them in the primaries with conservative purists.

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