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Will Boehner's decision to support Scalise after white supremacist speech backfire?

Washington (CNN) - House Republican leadership is standing by Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 3-ranking House Republican, in the wake of a firestorm of criticism surrounding his 2002 speech to a white supremacist group.

Scalise's position as House majority whip has been thrown into doubt by the revelation, and the congressman had been calling members to gauge the level of support he had from his party, according to a senior House Republican source.

But House Speaker John Boehner, in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, said Scalise has his "full confidence" as whip.

"More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment, and he was right to acknowledge it was wrong and inappropriate. Like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all Americans," he said.

His message came shortly before a similar message of support from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

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