May 18th, 2009
12:07 PM ET
4 years ago

Boehner responds to Obama's 'person of color' joke


WASHINGTON (CNN) – GOP congressional leader John Boehner is brushing off President Obama’s recent joke about Boehner’s famously permanent tan.

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.

soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Rick

    Oh, one more thing. Perhaps he is trying to be like George Hamilton with his perpetual tan.

    May 18, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. susie

    It's President Bush's fault.

    May 18, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. Barbara

    Lighten up! I wish the President would have questioned his hair!

    May 18, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. The Broker.

    Dozy Pelozie is definitly Cozie with this Guy.

    May 18, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Joe Smoe

    Good golly miss molly, why don't some of you people grow up.
    Boehner with his fake tan" lol "its as fake as he is. I guess everyday
    it is tanning bed here I come, does he not know these fake tans cause cancer. Wonder who he is trying to look good for.
    We all got to have a little humor sometime, everyone is so sensitive
    this day and time, did you ever hear the phrase "sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words can never harm me",words only hurt when you let them. Grow up people!!!

    May 18, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Gop

    Why does it matter to any one about his tan? When John Kerry was running against Bush, did he not sport a tan?

    If a person feels good about what they look like who are you to criticize!

    May 18, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Black and Proud

    Bob.. May 18th, 2009 11:33 am ET

    At least he can get rid of his tan. Blacks are always black!!!!!

    And you can bet blacks enjoy being black... we are not the pigmently challenged ones who are out there trying everything under the sun and not under the sun to change our colors.

    Quit hatin!

    May 18, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Honest Abe

    CNN's really trying to make an ISSUE of this. Guess there isn't anything else important happening around the world

    May 18, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. harold

    Summertime is about to make a splash here in this area this week.... John you can head for that beach... I like also.... and get a tan all over ... so you really make an impression, lasting, with someone in the late nigth show....... What a man. of the People, you are John.... Now I am ready to get a tan... all over of course.... Stupid to have a strip of white around you know where... its a put off isn't it John?

    May 18, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Terry

    I voted for Obama because he is white. One white man should be able to make a comment about another white man. What's racist about that?

    May 18, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. joann

    Mr. President,

    being an Italian-American, who easily tans when outdoors, I'm deeply offended by your remark about a color you suggest is not from the natural world! My color is just as natural as yours is!!!

    You seem to still be suffering from the fact your half WHITE, please try and get a handle on that, or it will continue to consume your every thought.

    Have a nice day!

    May 18, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Benny

    How are we sure that Boehner does not have some percentage of black in him? His response is very witty, but I suspect that he is mixed down the line.

    May 18, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. Ali

    I thought it was a marginally funny joke but certainly not offensive. The joke was not really about race but about tanning. It is certainly not new material. For all the screaming about double standards I would ask people to think about how many race riots have you experienced in your lifetime? People don't cry racism because of jokes that are meant as helpless teasing. They cry racism when the comments are clearly meant to disparage.

    May 18, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    Why are there not more attacks on Speaker Pelosi, and the fact that she directly lied to Congress and America? Don't you think we should be calling for her resignation, as Speaker and as a Senator?

    May 18, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. Becky

    The kool-aid jokes are getting old, just like the GOP.

    May 18, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Minnesotan

    Don't worry, Mr. Boehner... you'll be ignored next time voters get to fill your seat in the Senate.

    May 18, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Julie Z

    This guy one day, if he is using tanning salons and or sun bathing outside may be a poster child of skin disorders. Vanity at its best..I just wish he and the rest of congress would do what we are paying them to do.....thier JOBS!

    May 18, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. JD

    I agree with the majority here. People are over-sensitive, taking a joke about a tan and turned it into a controversy. Obama is half white, so why would he be blatantly racist towards whites here? I guess people expect presidents to be stoic robots, with no color in their character, no sense of humor, and living completely inside a small frame without leaving the boundary. The main part of his joke was that Boehner tans a lot, so he's a person of unnatural color.

    May 18, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Moderate Democrat

    Torturing saves lives.

    If we waterboard every single republican, until they die, we'll save the rest of the world from terrorists like them. They will tell us who their leader is so we can go and kill their terrorist leader. Then again, we already know who Cheney and Rush are....but waterboarding the republicans is necessary. In this nation we torture terrorists, and that means republicans must be tortured if we are to live up to the standard set by the previous administration.

    May 18, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Don

    This was a funny joke about a guy who lays in a tanning bed. Move on. To all the mean spirited, ignorant folks who spend so much time consumed with race in these posts: the glass is half full. You seem semi-literate AND have access to computers! We ARE making progress.

    May 18, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Barbara - Atlanta

    Hey...wasn't this ticker on the board yesterday? CNN, what are you trying to do? It was a joke, a very funny joke at that. C'mon, give me a break!

    May 18, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. Vella

    This is hilarious. It's just a dumb joke. When did people lose their sense of humor? And to everyone whining that if the roles had been reversed and it would have been racist, GROW UP. How else could this joke have gone? Naturally orange people don't appear in the natural world; people who are different shades of black, however, do. You can't be "racist" toward someone who's orange, jeeeeeeeesus.

    Lay off the tanning bed, John, you're going to get melanoma.

    May 18, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. azaro

    I think that's really funny. I like Obama, and he's smart and sensitive enough to take a measured jab at someone he knew who could take it! And the guy on the receiving end had a great attitude... "better to be heckled than ignored" Ha ha.

    May 18, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Sylvia

    He dislikes "people of color" yet he wants to have color. Did you noticed he was not as orange in this picture? I don't believe it for a minute that he does his own landscaping. Why doesn't FOX ambush him and ask him this question when he is in the yard? Oh, I forgot, FOX only ambush non-GOP folks. Probably will pick up one blade of grass to say he works in the yard.

    May 18, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. DX in TX

    Boehner's reaction is as fake as his tan....

    May 18, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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