January 27th, 2010
12:24 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP leader calls on colleagues to be 'respectful and considerate' to Obama

GOP leader calls on colleagues to be 'respectful and considerate' to Obama.
GOP leader calls on colleagues to be 'respectful and considerate' to Obama.

(CNN) - House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, says President Obama’s test at Wednesday’s State of the Union address will be whether he will offer merely a "rhetorical pivot, or are they really going to do something."

But Boehner – wary about disrupting what he called political wind at Republicans’ backs now – is also warning his own GOP colleagues to be respectful during tonight’s national address. People still remember the famous outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, who shouted "you lie" at the president the last time Obama addressed Congress.

"You invite someone to your home you should be respectful and considerate," Boehner told a small group of reporters at a Wednesday morning breakfast.

Still, Boehner gave some new insight into just how politically polarized Washington is right now by revealing that – besides occasional White House meetings with congressional leaders – he has "zero" private dialogue with the president or his top aides.

"I have not talked to Rahm Emanuel in a year," Boehner said, speaking of the president’s chief of staff and former Democratic congressman.


"It's really shocking...there's just no interaction," said Boehner.

The House GOP leader was careful to emphasize he does have a "great" relationship with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but said "we never talk about anything real. She and I talk about policy? I mean, why bother, and we both recognize it."

On politics, Boehner said the Republican win last week in Massachusetts has helped the GOP recruit quality candidates to run against Democrats. For example, one potential Republican candidate, whom he wouldn’t name, had been saying no for 9 months, but last week finally said yes.

Boehner said he believes the anger at Washington right now is “100 times more intense than anything we saw in 1994,” when Democrats were swept out of power.

The House’s top Republican also predicted that, besides the economy, terrorism will be a very prominent issue this election year – one that will help his party.

"It brings up another whole zone that will be part of this campaign," Boehner said.

He added there is so much opposition to the administration's plans to try terror suspects in civilian court, and insisted the trial planned in a New York federal courthouse won’t happen.

"The idea that they’re going to ask us for $500 million to fix up this prison in Illinois, and they’re going to ask us to change the law to allow them to bring these detainees here, is not going to pass the Congress,” he said. “It’s not gonna happen.”

Looking ahead to some of the substance of Obama’s State of the Union address, Boehner called the idea to freeze some discretionary spending "a modest step in the right direction."

On tax breaks the president is expected to propose to stimulate job growth, Boehner said he supports tax credits for new equipment, but warned a tax credit for new employees is "fraught with all kinds of policy problems" because he said it’s hard to determine whether an employee is really new.

He mocked the concept of freezing salaries for government officials as "political noise" and said the don’t-ask-don’t-tell gays in the military policy should be left "alone."

And on immigration reform – Boehner barely had words to express his clear delight at the notion that Democrats would consider bringing up the polarizing issue this election year.

"If they're going to go down this path ... it means they’re not listening to people," said Boehner. "They've already got people ready to march in the streets. You may as well just pour gasoline on them."

Update:The Obama White House disputes the GOP leader's contention that there has been no contact with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. An administration source said they have had at least three conversations or encounters since November.

soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Nurse

    Why should republicans act different then Dem's?

    January 27, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. tom

    Rahm is the Devil

    January 27, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. B

    Like talking to children...they don’t get it !

    January 27, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. A Guy

    Boy, this guy sure is cocky for someone who is part of the party that clearly and demonstrably caused the vast majority of the problems that the country is so angry about. How soon they forget.

    January 27, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "They've already got people ready to march in the streets. You may as well just pour gasoline on them."

    Uh, that's an image I could have lived without...

    January 27, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Laurie

    The GOP has not respected President Obama since the day he took office. I remember John Boehner standing on the Capitol steps against the background of protestors carrying a sign compaing Dauchau concentration camp victims to the President's health care plan. So much for respect arrogant tanned man.

    January 27, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Poor little Johnny,he hasnt had an idea in years.They should just let him wear his nascar jumpsuit with all his compny logos on it.

    January 27, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Tony R

    You are a fraudulent outfit, hiding the biggest fraud in US history: BHO.

    January 27, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Jim

    'bout time someone said something like this to the republicans. I've always respected and been considerate to the politicians i didn't like. it's time others did the same

    January 27, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Average American

    I doubt they can be civil. Let's wait and see.

    January 27, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Glenn Koons

    In the SOTU, the Messiah will make the obligatory reach across the aisle for his socialist pacifist policies and suckers like McCain will buy it lock..........Yes, be dignified and then afterwards, come out fighting for capitalism and an end to Cap and Trade, climate baloney, amnesty, and ask for jobs that are in the private sector. This naif in the WH hasn't a clue and his Dem minions should all be punished for ruining the economy and endangering our national security in Nov.

    January 27, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Mickey

    Ahhh Boehner, you old salt...calling Obama's State Of The Union address a "test". Republicans have succesfully FAILED these "tests" during the Bush Debacle, and continue to do so. Now you want civility? You, as well as your collegues, let Joe "YOU LIE!" Wilson go scott free...not so much as a peep out of you home-grown terrorists, for this travesty...just like McCain the dinosaur soils his Depends, you soil the Halls of Congress.

    The Republican party has emerged as nothing more than Domestic Terrorists, and their followers coerced into this "cult" by fear, hatred, and bigotry, which the GOP perpetuates with crap like this.

    January 27, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Dee

    Maybe they haven't talked is because the Republicans don't want to do anything with the Democratic Party or the Administration. This is why nothing ever gets done in Washington. When Republicans are in Democrats don't work with them, when Democrats are in Republicans don't work with them. REMEMBER YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO WORK FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Wish they would maybe something would really get done for a change. Too many people in Congress and in the Senate, Conservative talk radio people wish nothing but failure to this President. ISN'T THAT SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 27, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    I've always said that the Prez, not the GOP, should engage in dialogue if he wants to engage in some constructive talk with them. He's the legitimate authority, it should be his right if he wants to take it serious and if he doesn't, then he shouldn't waste time and continue on his manipulating agenda.

    For the record, GOP are in fact playing their cards right, they're going what the tables say, not what it hopes to say. They're going good and I've come to agree with them on specific issues, most importantly, the fight on Terror. That one am having serious doubt about our Prez now, and I think it may be a big mistake to assume the prez understands what's at stake here. Let alone his stimulis plan is just one of the biggest problems in his administration.

    But is fair to say that it should be noted to respect and be considerate to your fellow members when an address is being sent out. No matter what happens or say, it should show a sign of respect. They did it to Bush and should do it to this Prez. Is fair and equal on both parts.

    January 27, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Nick

    Wow! These clowns actually had to be told to be respectful to the President? What a shame.

    January 27, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Lisa P

    House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, says President Obama’s test at Wednesday’s State of the Union address will be whether he will offer merely a "rhetorical pivot, or are they really going to do something."

    Someone will have to remind me: just what has John Boehner accomplished lately? Nothing, nothing and nothing, to the best of my memory. Talking and standing in the way don't count. Perhaps Rep. Boehner should check out that bit about motes and logs in the Bible before criticizing President Obama's record of legislative achievement, which is pretty good by comparison.

    January 27, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. SocialismBad

    Of course the Democrats didn't need to speak to the Republicans because they had the Congress in their strangle hold. They barely managed to pass legislation because the legislation is so radical.

    But now that has all changed thanks to Mr. 41 and the sudden awakening from a Democratic comma in Massachusetts. Yet the liberals running the show refuse to admit the country is revolting against their agenda. There are none so blind than those that refuse to see! November will bring to removal of MANY Democrats if they refuse to wake up and moderate their policies.

    January 27, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Hypocrisy

    How can you "change the tone in Washington" and be a "post partisan" President when you can't even talk to the other side? More lies, distortions, and "Blame Bush" excuses tonight, all wrapped up in flowery rhetoric spewing from the teleprompter.

    January 27, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Wonder if some of our loudmouth rightwing bloggers are in a Louisiana prison today?Some even claim they own companies.Could they be internet street teaming companies,hahaha?

    January 27, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Dutch the Great

    You should gave this warning last year to your colleagues Bonehead. The President's people don't talk to you, because you are still stuck in Bush era economics.

    January 27, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. scott from MICH

    One thing he didn't state was his own partys contribution to the Anger people feel. GOP has been wrought with hateful messeges and disrespect every since Obama took office. They have been fanning flames of discontent at every turn. GOP has shown Zero willingness to wk with Obama – saying NO to everything while Misleading the public on issues such as healthcare. Sadly a GOP leader has to "request" that his members offer respect to our President??? Such a sad sad state of affairs if that's needed. Its sickening actually. They had and have no problem paying homage to some such as Cheney who created the disaster we are faced with now from 8 years of lies and catering to the rich – corp goons and wall street

    January 27, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Vivian McRae

    Why should grown people have to be told to be respectfull, and considerate, they should be themselves, be careful gop, your true colors have already shown, everything that goes up must come down

    January 27, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. DC Observer

    Respectful I can live with, but let us not encourage him. Better to stand when enters and remain seated and quiet during his entire speech.

    Obama was pushing to pass health care before Christmas ...and then he wanted it done before his State of the Union -- he was ram rodding through a takeover of 1/6th of our economy. Now, after Massachusetts has fired a shot across his bow, Obama has retreated to campaign mode, and is not fooling anyone. He formed this cost saving bi partisan committee, and then abruptly gave them no say and no power to speak until after the mid term elections – this is a SHAM and voters can see right through the campaign show.

    Fool me once shame on me/ fool me twice – shame on you Mr President.

    You can pass healthcare on the fly, but when it comes to cutting costs you are suddenly incapacitated. And your discretionary freeze is ludicrous – you left out 87% of the budget - and why the heck are we not cutting foreign aid when our country is hurting so much? And defense spedning can be cut if you end the wars as you promised...

    January 27, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. AG

    Still, Boehner gave some new insight into just how politically polarized Washington is right now by revealing that – besides occasional White House meetings with congressional leaders – he has "zero" private dialogue with the president or his top aides. "I have not talked to Rahm Emanuel in a year," Boehner said, speaking of the president’s chief of staff and former Democratic congressman.

    Good! Given that Boehner was front and center in creating the Great Bush Recession, I'm glad anything he has to say is totally being ignored.

    January 27, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. NVa Native

    It would be nice if the Repubs do more than have just one night of respect. Maybe they could start respecting our country by doing their job, instead of continuing their "strike" against working for the good of all Americans, the job they were elected by the citizens to do. Instead of just working to keep their tea-bagger constituents appeased? Maybe expand their vocabulary and actions to be more than simply "NO".

    Who knows this might be the last time our citizens can actually say they elected them now that the activist neo-con majority in the Supreme Court has given away our democracy to all mighty corporate (and foreign) dollar.

    January 27, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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