April 26th, 2012
02:49 PM ET
6 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. yogi

    Another pathetic one. Focus on real issues Mr. Speaker, and where are the jobs you promised about a few years ago?
    Obama 2012

    April 26, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |

    The Weeper and his unhinged GOBP have nothing. He just caved in on student loans because President Obama spoke at schools directly to young voters.

    April 26, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Uh oh. Here comes the GOPer Lightbulb Brigade, ready to take up Boehners call to arms grovel talk.

    April 26, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. americanwithabrain

    What else do we expect from the campaigner-in-chief? He's been campaigning since 2008!

    April 26, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Obama's Snake Oil on Sale - Git yur lies and deceit here!!

    Who you callin' pathetic sucker??? I'll spend my money how I see fit and I like investin' it in ol' Barrack.

    April 26, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. americanwithabrain

    What else do you expect from the campaigner-in-chief? He's been campaigning since 2007, and didn't stop campaigning to do his job as president. I'm firing him in November.

    April 26, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. yogi

    The GOP doesn't want the President to go outside the White House, because on the campaign trail he is telling the truth, and that hurts republicans because they don't know how to do that. Distortion, lies, and negativity is their cup-of-tea.

    April 26, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Boehner demands Obama campaign repay treasury for 'pathetic' political trips◄
    Why doesn't Boehner DEMAND Newt ginGRINCH pay back secret service protection funds for running a campaign that he knew doggone well was not going anywhere and he just USED THEM for the luxury of seeing the country and visiting zoos on taxpayer's money!!

    What about Halliburton? What about a repay for ALL FUNDS that elected a "do-nothing" congress in 2010? Must I go on?

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    April 26, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Veteran for Obama

    Where are the jobs Mr. Speaker?, why don't you focus on that for a change and do something good for america; like passing a bill or two.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 26, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    Some powerful people just hate hearing THE TRUTH.

    April 26, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Obama's Snake Oil on Sale - Git yur lies and deceit here!!

    What else do you expect from the campaigner-in-chief? He's been campaigning since 2007, and didn't stop campaigning to do his job as president. I'm firing him in November.
    Now don't do anything rash... I can have that unemployment rate down to 7.5% if you just give another four years to drive another 5 million people out of the workforce.

    April 26, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. rs

    Obama will pay right after GW Bush pays for his 87 vacation trips to his Texas ranch, AND all of his record-breaking campaign trips of 1984.
    You just have to love the GOP- worst President in history, and they think no one remembers.

    April 26, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. the Situation

    Oh way, I forgot instead of being petty, even though that the only thing this Chump knows how to do best, do what America elected you to do, create jobs as you promise. Pass meaningful bills that will help Americans not waste taxpayers money with yourself and your do nothing Congress.

    April 26, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Yogi – I fully agree with your comments. The GOP (Greed Over People) klan will say and do anything to bring Obama down. Let them say anything they want...IT WILL NOT WORK.

    Obama/Biden 2012!!!

    April 26, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Derrick

    Boener is a Loser! Republicans have no core only racist hidden klan rants against this president. I can't wait to see Obama tear mittens a new butt in the debates. America knows better and can see between the lies of the right wing nut jobs

    April 26, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Bill, NY

    The Grim Weeper owes at least 2 billion for all the kleenex he's cried into. Go back and make Bush pay for all the traveling he did while not on official business. Check the records numb nuts! Obama has reimbursed the US far more that his idiot predecessor!

    April 26, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Mgc tampa

    Really mr. speaker this from you the leader that can't control his own people? Where are the jobs? you have blocked the infrastructure bill, you caused our credit rating to drop...what exactly have YOU done but cry me me a river!

    April 26, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. sonny chapman

    Keep punching Obama, you've got 'em squealing !

    April 26, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. rs

    Boehner may think this "attack everything Obama does" strategy is smart. What he fails to grasp is it points up the complete lack of accomplishment on the part of the GOP for the last 4 years- except perhaps to block anything from escaping Congress. So, in sum. It isn't that the GOP failed to accomplish ANYTHING of value for 4 years, but that they actually managed to just not do anything at all- including their jobs. Jail is too good for them!

    November 2012 is coming, gentlemen!

    April 26, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Alan J

    So Crybaby Boehner says they President's trips were Pathetic, No they were Telling! Telling in that the President went to the People and told them what Boehner and the GOP whimps were doing in DC ripping the College students off! Funny Bush went some of everywhere on Air Force One and you didn't hear a peep out of the GOP now they want investigations on President Obama, what Jokes!

    April 26, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. Mgc tampa

    you people really believe the orange man??? ha ha, alot of folks out there that apparently never graduated from the school of commom sense Ha Ha

    April 26, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. Alan J

    Americanwithoutabrain You should be Original or keep it to your self! For real, you sound silly

    April 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Susan

    Obama besure to start packing soon. The people will tell you how you are doing in November. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    April 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    I demand Cryin' John pay the standard advertising rate per minute to CNN and Fox for every time he goes on and complains about the federal treasury money the President is supposedly spending on his reelection campaign.

    April 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Me

    Will the Speaker reimburse the treasury his pay, that of his staff, and the cost of his operations for his pathetic political running of the House of Representatives?

    April 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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