At the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner a week ago, the country’s first African-American president said he had “a lot in common” with Boehner who is Caucasian. “He is a person of color,” Obama joked before a massive ballroom of celebrities and Washington journalists. “Although not a color that appears in the natural world,” Obama added, barely able to keep his composure as he delivered the dig.
“As I tell my friends, you only tease the ones you love,” Boehner said responding to Obama Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
“Yeah, I enjoy being outside,” Boehner added, trying to explain his persistently tanned appearance.
“I’d rather be heckled than ignored,” the Ohio Republican told CNN’s John King.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Watch as CNN Chief National Correspondent John King recaps Sunday's State of the Union.
Related: State of the Union with John King
Addressing a sharply divided audience at the storied Catholic university, Obama nevertheless conceded that no matter how much Americans "may want to fudge it ... at some level the views of the two camps are irreconcilable."
"Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction," he said. "But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature."
The commencement ceremony was boycotted by a number of graduates dismayed by the university's decision both to tap Obama as its commencement speaker and to give him an honorary degree. The president is a supporter of abortion rights and federally-funded embryonic stem-cell research - positions that are anathema to traditional Catholic teachings.
Some graduates attended the ceremony, but expressed their disapproval by donning a mortar board marked with a cross and the outline of an infant's footprints. Others countered by wearing mortarboards adorned with an Obama campaign symbol.
Twenty-seven people were arrested prior to Obama's speech, according to a spokeswoman for the St. Joseph County, Indiana, jail. Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff identified as "Roe" in the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, was among those arrested.
But inside, several hecklers who interrupted the start of Obama's speech were loudly booed by the audience.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Waterboarding was not used to produce intelligence that linked Iraq to al Qaeda in the run-up to the war in Iraq, former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter said Sunday.
A former top State Department official, Lawrence Wilkerson, told CNN last week that finding a "smoking gun" linking Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network became the main purpose of the "alternative" interrogation program the Bush administration authorized in 2002 - a program critics say amounted to the torture of prisoners in American custody.
But Liz Cheney, who served in the State Department during the Bush administration, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that "Nobody who is talking about this in the press has any knowledge of specific detainee treatment."
"The people that claimed to have been waterboarded in these articles are not any of those people," she said.
Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, was former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff during the Bush administration's first term. Since leaving office, he has become an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq.
In an online essay Thursday, he wrote that al Qaeda captive Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi was "waterboarded" by Egyptian intelligence until he told interrogators that Baghdad trained terrorists to use chemical and biological weapons - a key element in the Bush administration's case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
But Liz Cheney told ABC that Wilkerson "has made a cottage industry of out of fantasies about the vice president," and pointed out that al-Libi was not among the three al Qaeda figures the United States has admitted to subjecting to waterboarding.
And she said the former vice president - who has been publicly defending the interrogation program in recent weeks - "would not substitute his own judgment for the professionals at the CIA."
"I think that it's important for us to have all the facts out - and the first and more important fact is that the vice president has been absolutely clear that he supported this program, this was an important program," she said. "It saved American lives."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) performance at Thursday's press conference received a harsh evaluation from Reliable Sources’ political panel Sunday morning.
Pelosi said Thursday that the CIA "was misleading the Congress."
Roger Simon, chief political columnist for The Politco, told CNN's Howard Kurtz that Pelosi may have dug herself in an even deeper hole.
"If she had hung a sign around her neck saying 'I am lying,' she could not have done worse...She was terrible."
Pelosi has been under fire this week for conflicting statements she made on whether or not she was briefed by the CIA about so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques," such as waterboarding, being used on terror suspects.
Simon said the media's performance wasn't any better than Pelosi's.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama has started arming for the possibility of a major Supreme Court nomination battle, pulling a longtime Democratic power player into the White House to help run the confirmation process, senior administration officials told CNN.
Stephanie Cutter is leaving the Treasury Department, where she has served as one of Secretary Timothy Geithner's most senior advisers during the financial crisis, to be the point person for mobilizing public support for the Obama's pick to replace retiring Justice David Souter, three senior administration officials said.
Administration officials say Obama is likely to name Souter's replacement in late May or early June, before the president leaves for Egypt to deliver a speech to the Muslim world. Regardless of whom he picks, liberal and conservative activists are already bracing for an epic battle over the future of the high court.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Minority Leader John Boehner turned up the heat Sunday in the escalating war of words between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, congressional Republicans, and the CIA over Pelosi’s knowledge of enhanced CIA interrogation techniques including water boarding.
Last week, Pelosi claimed that the CIA had misled herself and other members of Congress about whether it was actually using water boarding to obtain information from high-profile detainees during 2002 intelligence briefings.
The Ohio Republican said Pelosi should provide evidence that she was misled or apologize to the country’s intelligence community.
“Lying to the Congress of the United States is a crime,” Boehner said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “And if the Speaker is accusing the CIA and other intelligence officials of lying or misleading the Congress, then she should come forward with evidence and turn that over to the Justice Department [for possible prosecution].”
“And if that’s not the case, I think she ought to apologize to our intelligence professionals around the world.”
“Having these voices out there, it doesn’t hurt us, it helps us,” Boehner told CNN’s John King on State of the Union when asked about former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
“If we’re going to show the American people that we’ve got a better way forward, having a chorus of voices out there, I think is helpful to our effort,” added the Ohio Republican.
The GOP congressional leader had no illusions about how much work his party has to do.
“We’ve got a long way to come back. We’ve had two disastrous election cycles.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As President Barack Obama’s young administration settles in after marking its first 100 days, House Minority Leader John Boehner said the popular Democrat is seeing the difference between life on the campaign trail and life in the Oval Office as the nation’s commander in chief.
“The president has a tough job to do,” the Ohio Republican said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “I think he’s beginning to learn how difficult it is to govern. It’s one thing to campaign and to make statements. But when it comes to governing there’ve got to be much more pragmatic decisions. We’ve seen the president make several of those lately.”
Boehner’s remarks came just days after the Obama administration reversed its position about the release of pictures allegedly showing abuse of detainees in U.S. military custody and announced its plans to reinstitute a system of military commissions to try detainees that Obama suspended soon after taking office.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House Budget Director Peter Orszag offered a window Sunday into President Obama’s ambitious plans to reform the nation’s health care system while dealing with record budget deficits and the nation’s struggling economy.
“We have always said health care reform has to be deficit-neutral over a five- or ten-year window,” Orszag said on CNN’s State of the Union when asked whether the White House might take on higher deficits in order to fund one of the president’s big domestic agenda items.
“And then much better than that over the long term. So we are very committed to making sure that health care reform is self-financing and also brings down costs over time both for families and for the federal government. So you are not going to see a deficit-increasing health care reform.”
Obama’s budget guru refused to say whether the president would sign a health care reform legislation that included a provision taxing employer-provided health care insurance benefits as one means of helping to finance health care reform.
“It was not in the president’s campaign plan, it wasn’t in our budget. Clearly there are some members of Congress who are putting it on the table. We’re going to have to let this play out,” said Orszag said