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Rep. LaTourette: Gridlocked legislation 'accelerated' decision on retirement

"When things like the highway bill -- I mean we're talking about building a road -- gets bogged town, the farm bill, that sort of blew up as we were leaving town yesterday, and the student loan interest-rate reduction. I mean, the [House] Speaker [John Boehner (R-Ohio)] is a friend of mine, but when he took to the floor and says, 'Do we have to fight about everything?' I mean that really accelerated the thinking that, 'Yeah, we do I guess,' " LaTourette said Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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LaTourette also pointed to the mere 38 House votes garnered for the Simpson-Bowles budget alternative, which he proposed along with Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), saying the result was "clearly a disappointment."

LaTourette announced Tuesday he wouldn't run for his congressional seat again, citing acrimony in Washington that had come to outweigh the benefits of being a congressman.

When asked to analyze the change in Congress over the years, LaTourette said when he arrived in Washington, D.C., lawmakers "didn't sweat the small stuff."

"Things that needed to be done to move the country forward, like student loans, like the farm bill, like the highway bill, they got 350, 400 votes and there was no such thing as a Republican bridge or a Democratic road. That's what's different today," he said.

In part, he blamed redistricting for creating a situation where politics in the legislature has moved to extremes on both sides of the aisle.

"The red districts get redder and the blue districts get bluer," he said. 

He also lamented the inability of Congress to take action on the looming tax hikes and defense cuts set to take place at the end of the year with sequestration.

"Anybody that doesn't understand this fiscal cliff … that we're about to face, and anybody that doesn't understand that in a split government you got to find a common ground way out of it -- it's not going to be your way or the highway -- is nuts," he said.

LaTourette put the chances of going over the so-called “fiscal cliff" at "50-50."

The nine-term lawmaker said he gives it those odds because he believes in his "heart" that fellow Ohioan, Boehner, will reach a deal if he has a "willing dance partner."

"I think President Obama would have been a willing dance partner if he didn't have the same forces on the left pulling him that the Speaker had on the right," he added.