May 18th, 2009
12:07 PM ET
8 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. Chelle

    oh my goodness!

    give it a rest, all the haters will find anything to comment about, leave our president ALONE!!

    get a life people

    May 18, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Beth from Virginia

    Wait a minute! Isn't he one of the guys that criticized Obama for having time to attend a basketball game? But he has time to hang around outside and soak up the rays? Isn't that just a tad hypocritical?

    May 18, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Martin, Carson City, Nv.

    William Shakespear put it best. He would call this much adue about nothing! This was a party, not a Press Conference. We all need to lighten up!

    May 18, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Eleanor

    It's not the color of their skin that interests or concerns me. I am only interested in who they are as our representatives in the government and how they plan to affect our lives. Mr. Obama is exactly what I would hope for, and voted for. Mr. Boner is just a bozo. He can be whatever color he likes...he's still a fool!

    May 18, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. di

    at least we can fight for power but still be humorous and have some light moments... that was a good one boehner

    May 18, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. harold

    Does John have a TAN all over the body?... Who knows in D.C. ?... Come on speak up.............maybe his wife, if he has one?... Will his secret admirer speak up on this?.. I can't for sure...... no admirer here, I am NOT.... but the Tan well its a little much... he is from that cloudy state of Ohio is he not?....A representative there?

    May 18, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. RJ in NYC

    Kevin B said:

    "Trust me, behind closed doors and out of ear shot of the media the republicans have said much worse about the the president."

    And you proof if this is...........? We're waiting...........

    May 18, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Blaine Love

    On the joke about Rep. Boehner. I think Boehner handled the response well, I don't think President Obama should have said it in the first place giving the response that would have come if Boehner had said 'a person of color' about Obama. Jesse and Al would have been up in arms wanting him fired. And I like Obama, I just think, giving his position, he should be more discreet.

    May 18, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Gop

    Hey Becky

    Liberals that like to put down the GOP in this forum gets old as well but I don’t think you have a problem with that would you?

    Maybe you just don’t like the cool-aid remark because you been drinking at that same trough for years!

    May 18, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Nick Kang

    The reason why there are not more attacks on Pelosi is simply due to the fact that Conservatives have lost their mind. Republicans are simply trying to create a smokescreen to shift the focus of their deeds.
    Torture is torture, calling it "enhanced interrogations" doesn't make it any better and the GOP was in power when this was going on.

    Have a good day.

    May 18, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. RJ in NYC

    Sylvia said:

    "He dislikes 'people of color' "

    Where is that stated? Where was that statement made? Where is your proof? What fact is that commment based on?

    May 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Frank

    Hey Bohner, here's a nice poem for your Repub buddy form Kansas......

    Huckabee the wannabee is surely quite amusing.
    He sanctions torture for his party, then points the finger accusing..

    Huckabee the wannabee makes partisan claims of lying.
    But he fails to see that our Democracy was more damaged war needless dying.

    You see, Huckabee the wannabee could ask for a Truth Commission. But he knows the Truth will surely put many of his own Republicans in prison !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Start the Bush/ Chenet war tribunal now !!!!!!!

    May 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Benn

    A Republican with a 'shared' sense of humor devoid of opportunism! Bravo, Representative Boehner!

    Could this be a sign that the atmoshere is changing in Washington?

    I certainly hope so!

    The joke was probably funnier among those who know the good Congressman personally but many of us know people like him so it did have a broad appeal.

    His response was unexpected and admirable; something I don't often acknowledge about Republicans.

    May 18, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. dominican mama 4 Obama

    On a "lighter" note: I'm gratified to see that our President's way of dealing with criticism has, in this case at least, "rubbed" off on you Mr.Boehner. Your comeback to Obama's comment vis-a-vis your "tan" were suprisingly refreshing.

    To others on this blog: if Pelosi lied (looking that way ain't it?!) she deserves whatever she's got coming to her. I am a Democrat who believes country, and it's people first.

    May 18, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Susan

    Is this man just a media hog or what? Does he DO anything iN washington otehr than complain about Obama and the Democrats. If I were an Ohioan I'd be calling for HIS resignation.

    May 18, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. RJ in NYC

    We'll VP Joe "Klutz" Biden might have more of a tan now that he revealed the location of the VP's secret protective bunker....

    May 18, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Mich

    It just shows you what kind of a class act we elected for president.

    May 18, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Rob

    I really hate the term "person of color." Does that mean that "white" people are colorless? The last time I checked white was a color, and black people don't like being called "colored," (although the NAACP still uses the term in its name).

    And of course Egyptian and white South African people are not considered African-Americans either...what a crazy world of misused terminology we have.

    May 18, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. jeff

    Hey Joanne. As a fellow Italian American who tans easily, I can assure you no one in my family has ever sported the shade of artificial bronze that Rep. Bohner sports throughout the year. So no need to be offended. It's un-natural and a sign of vanity. We all have quirks. It's funny. Get a sense of humor.

    May 18, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |

    I can't believe Bohner – he's tone deaf to reality!
    The Prez was dissing him for having a tan out of a bottle so that he "looks good" to Ohio voters.
    This guy is nothing more than your typical republican't "beauty pagent" phoney, and like most all GOP beauty pagent participants he is clueless as to whats really going on in the real world...

    May 18, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. terru

    ok...I have finally had it. For the last time, the president is not and African American!!!! He is Bi-racial!!!!! He had a black Kenyan father and a white American Mother!!! He was raised by his white mother and white grandmother. If you are going to print his race...DO IT RIGHT!!!
    He is a man of many colors and many cultures. Give him that credit!!
    That would be something to be Proud of.

    May 18, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Tunstall

    Why do I feel that the majority of whites just loves to say that Obama is half white? Is that supposed to mean something big, what?
    Half of the American blacks are mixed, seems as thought the white men could not leave the black women alone, there was an old saying,
    The only free people are white men and black women, something to think about. My grandfather is white, who decided to go black and married my half indian and black grandmother. Obama's father was a beautiful black man, highly intelligent,

    May 18, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Mississippi Mike

    It's interesting how when Obama makes a rude comment about Boehner's skin color, it's somehow used to show how big of a jerk Boehner is for merely having skin that's slightly darker than usual. Can you imagine how liberals would have reacted if Boehner had made the same comment about Obama? Boehner laughs this off, can you imagine who Obama's White House would have responded.

    May 18, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Aria


    There are many different aspects. First, wasn't there a saying many years ago that even if you have a drop of African American in you, you're considered black? Also if you look at Pres Obama, he looks totally Black. Not to mention he relates much more to Blacks than Whites, probably because of his appearance. That's why they call him Black as opposed to Biracial. I see your point though.

    May 18, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Why SO bitter, Dems?

    Who said this...

    "I'm sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we're Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration." Answer: HIllary Clinton.

    I guess the rules don't appy now that a Democrat is president......

    May 18, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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