April 26th, 2012
02:49 PM ET
2 years ago

Boehner demands Obama campaign repay treasury for 'pathetic' political trips

Washington (CNN) - In a sign that campaign season is in full force on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner used his weekly press conference Thursday to rip into President Barack Obama, saying his recent trips were "pathetic."

The speaker argued the travel to three battleground states, where the president criticized Republicans on student loans, was political and demanded the Obama re-election campaign repay the Treasury for the cost of the trips.

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An animated Boehner slammed the president for waging "fake fights" with the GOP on the issue of potentially rising college loan costs and legislation to extend protections for female victims of domestic abuse and rape.

"Our country is facing some major and economic and fiscal challenges yet here's the president wasting time on a fake fight to try to gain his own re-election," Boehner said.

The speaker insisted the White House knew Congress was already working to make sure rates for subsidized Stafford loans don't double when the current law expires in July. He blasted wasting taxpayer money for multiple visits to three colleges, saying the cost of the trip amounted to $179,000 an hour. The Air Force said Air Force One costs $181,757 per flight hour to operate.

"This one does not pass the straight face test. You know it and I know it, so it's time for the Obama campaign to pony up and reimburse the Treasury," Boehner told reporters.

White House Spokesman Eric Schultz, responding to Boehner's remarks, explained the president's trips.

"This week's travel has been part of the President's official responsibility to get outside of Washington, DC, hear from students, and discuss stopping interest rates on their loans from doubling in July – an effort, that with Congress now taking action, looks to have been effective," Schultz said in a statement. "But like Friday's trip to Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia to meet with troops, veterans, and military families this travel is part of the President's official responsibilities. When there is political travel, we follow all rules and regulations that all other Administrations of both parties have followed."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, immediately rejected Boehner's call and defended the trips, saying this type of criticism comes every presidential election cycle.

"You go back eight years ago, they always raise the same hue and cry: 'The president shouldn't be campaigning as president.' The president is, just like President Bush did, is following the rules. They are very, very careful," Reid said.

The Republican National Committee also criticized the president's recent travel late Wednesday, and called on the General Accountability Office to investigate whether it constituted official business.

Boehner maintained he wasn't coordinating his tough language with the campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

While the speaker has previously said he has a good relationship with the president, his criticism Thursday was at times scathing and personal. He called the recent trips by the president to highlight the student loan issue "beneath the dignity of the White House."

Referring to the presidency as "the biggest job in the world," Boehner said, "I've never seen the president make it smaller."

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Filed under: John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. The REAL Truth.. (not the imposter)

    Once again the grandstanding GOP is pointing fingers at the Obama administration for their own failings. Independents have done their research and can see the thru the smoke, the charades, the lies and will vote for Obama in Nov. The party of no will find out that it still has no platform, no candidate, and no chance in Nov. Baynuts comments indicate how desperate the Grand Obstructionist Party has become. BWAAHAHHAHA!

    April 26, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. Tyrone

    Boehner, Boehner, Boehner, Yall pubs want some chees wit dat whine??? Hey . you guys are goin wit da guy wit da majic underwear not us. Yall aint got a brothers chance at elderism at da bishop gettin all up in dat Oval Office. russia is our biggest Foe, Yea go wit dat idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 26, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "This one does not pass the straight face test......Boehner told reporters."

    Yeah, well, nothing Boehner has said to date has ever passed the straight face test yet. Why should this time be any different?

    April 26, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. stars

    Bonehead you are bald face lair where are the freaking job you lied to the ppl and we will never forget those fake tears of how you lied about how much you love america. you are fired you sob.

    April 26, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    "The speaker insisted the White House knew Congress was already working to make sure rates for subsidized Stafford loans don't double when the current law expires in July."
    ----------------
    In other words, President Obama was out campaigning for legislation currently before the Congress, which is perfectly valid. In fact, knowing that Congress was "already working" on it is exactly why President Obama took his message to the road. If Boehner's complaint was genuine, he would have cried about it.

    April 26, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Bill

    The only thing that is pathetic is Boehner's childish whining. Get over it slimeball.

    April 26, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Devon

    Yo Boehner, are you gettin a free car elevator for dissen The Prez. Please, Can a Speaker get all up in here with some substance?? Just caus you losin with the college kids, the elderly, the hispanics, the blacks, unions, middle class, yea, you & Cantor can start packin out your offices.. TRUE DAT!!!!

    April 26, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    This idiot is a very very pathetic idiot. Weeping will not bring votes in November.
    Obama12.

    April 26, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Wake up people

    Boehner needs to lay off the booze, he looks bad. He also needs to do his job.

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 26, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. JohnK

    Cry, Boehner, cry!!!!!!!

    If the Republican Teabilly's didn't try to stop every piece of legislation that didn't benefit the rich Obama wouldn't have to travel around to appeal to people's common sense.

    April 26, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    He called the recent trips by the president to highlight the student loan issue "beneath the dignity of the White House."

    And you sir and your entire party are beneath what the people of this country deserve and I can't wait to throw you ALL out in November.

    April 26, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. anotherGDlefty

    Presidents travel.
    Period.

    Presidents usually make speeches in the towns they travel to.
    Period.

    Now Mr. Boehner, tell me how that jobs bill is going....I may want the GAO to be reimbursed for YOUR travel...

    April 26, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Al-NY,NY

    Hey Weepy Man from Tan......he can talk about anything he wants. You should be paying attention to your mannaquin candidate instead. in more direct words John......BU#T OUT!!!

    April 26, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. Tony Z

    So, Mr. Speaker of the House- Let the American people know when the can expect Congress to take action. Commit to getting things done. I have two request the ABLE act and The Student loans. One son headed to college and another with a disability- so please show me some action verse words.

    April 26, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Sandra

    Can we ask Boehner to repay the American people for his )Boehner's )pathetic so called 'leadership?

    April 26, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Blindersoff

    Is Boehner D..R...U..N..K . again? How embarrassing. look at his face and eyes, truly a tell tail sign.

    April 26, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Timothy

    Wow! is he really serious enough of this do nothing, fault finding, accusing republican congress. Why don't they go support some of the presidents agenda and stop with the political posturing.

    April 26, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. the Situation

    Deputy Dog Boehner like all the other GOP are simply pathetic and very petty!

    April 26, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. jackie

    Wow... how pathetic these Rethuglicons are. How desperate can they get. LOL

    April 26, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. AgrippaMT

    The only thing that is pathetic here is a whining, childish behavior of Boehner and the Republicans.

    April 26, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Lisa P

    You know, the people of Ohio really need to toss this guy out. What a faker.

    April 26, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. David

    I think he should apologize for being the biggest failure as Speaker ever.

    April 26, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. Vibrato Yodeler

    I think Republicans,.. especially members of the House,.. should repay the Treasury ,for they pathetic performance, as the people's representatives. The GOP are totally disrespectful of the office of the Presidency, and of the President himself. Do Republicans ride bikes, on their cross country jaunts?

    April 26, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. WireweirdinSF

    Won't ever happen. Such a move would be a sign that the current inept, incompetent, corrupt union toady administration has ethic (which it does not) and also it would upset the corrupt union bosses that would have to pay more than they already have for Obama, which would mean less for their own pockets.

    April 26, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. gg

    after bush and cheney repays the billions haliburtion stole from the tax payers

    April 26, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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