House Speaker John Boehner is facing the ire of his caucus after striking a deal over their heads to extend the payroll tax cut for two months.

But whether those complaints could imperil his speakership remains to be seen, as the veteran lawmaker and GOP leader projects the message that he did the best he could in tough political circumstances.

In striking the deal with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Boehner effectively acknowledged that House Republicans were in danger of taking the fall for a tax hike on Jan. 1. Ron Bonjean, a former top aide to ex-Speaker Dennis Hastert, credited Boehner with giving his members a chance to make their case but said he had to strike a balance.

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