By John Bresnahan & Manu Raju
Sen. Daniel Inouye is used to getting his own way. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
The powerful Hawaii Democrat defied Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the White House during an internal party fight over last week’s Hawaii special election — and many Democrats believe his stubbornness cost them a seat they’d held for decades.
Inouye doesn’t care.
“It’s a Hawaiian matter,” he told POLITICO during a wide-ranging interview Tuesday. “I didn’t know that the [DCCC] controlled Hawaii’s politics.”
Inouye added, “I was surprised [the DCCC] tried to suggest to us how we should run our business.”
DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland would not comment on the Hawaii controversy, and White House officials didn’t want to discuss it either, though Obama asked an Inouye aide at a private event this week whether “you can win the seat back for me.” The Inouye aide said he would.
Republican Charles Djou won Saturday’s special election after two Democrats — the leadership favorite, former Rep. Ed Case; and Inouye’s pick, state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa — split the Democratic vote.
For Inouye, the dispute was personal.
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