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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Oh great, the Weepy Orange Man has another GOBP jobs plan!
In addition, he and his family have taken 17 vacations in 3 1/2 years on the taxpayer's dime while the country is effectively bankrupt. Who is out of touch Mr. President?
Shorter GOP/Teatrolls: "Yep....we got nuthin'."
Really? Can we recall this waste of space? Recalls should be mandatory so we restore sanity.
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.
That's exactly what I was thinking. Romney can't relate to average Americans and the GOP is just mad that Obama can and is showing it. They sound jealous and foolish. LOL
"beneath the dignity of the White House."
You mean the dignity of the White House and the office of POTUS that the GOP/Teatrolls have been flinging feces at for 3 years like a pack of angry macaques on backyard meth?
Oh Boehner the WH Knew you were working on a bill on the Student Loans right? You mean like the WH knew you had agreed to the Grand Bargain last year then the Tea Party kicked your butt and made you go to the camera and walk it All Back, like that? Or like you working on student Loan deal then tying that Pipe Line to it to tey to shove it down the President's throat. You are a joke of a Speaker. You are Cantor's puppet pure and simple! Bye Crybaby
Nobody seemed to mind when any other President traveled during the campain season. I have been through more presidential campaigns then I like to admit and I have a news flash for the GOP – this makes you look desperate and panic stricken. This type of thing has been going on all the time and this is the first time anyone has been desperate enough to scream about it. And I lived through the Nixon campaigns.
PITIFUL!! Is he cryiing yet? And every time I read or hear some ridiculous inquiry/comment like this one from the repubs, I send money to the OBAMA campaign!!!!!!!!!!! And where were you when Halliburton and W flying to his ranch almost every weekend on Air Force One??? Is it only Pres. Obama that must tow the so call line 24-7? Again, its all so ridiculous from the HATERS!!!
Mr. Orange has is an embarrassment. I want an explanation of what he has actually accomplished in writing because he has been a waste of time & effort!
Mr. Speaker, you put a lot of energy into attacking the POTUS. Try this Mrs. Speaker...Go to the floor and tell the American People how you are going to CREATE JOBS. Do the job you were elected to do and please stop whining.
Sp1: get over it, did you complain when the Bushes were at Camp David and his ranch in Texas every other week. John Boehner and his nutty colleagues are just so petty!
obama has been on the campaign trail since last fall...on the tax payer dollar. We all know that...and we know he has been in our face for over three years..constantly selling himself and his agenda. It has been a constant snow job...proof is obama's healthcare bill, immigration, tax policy and and and...is all unraveling at the Supreme Court. Americans are not Marxists...and we don't want a king or the obama sized govt. We will have a new President one who has an American brain and loves and respects our country. The obama experiment is over!
Major Issue: Government waste and abuse of Tax Payers.
Obama has become the Poster POTUS of this flagrant disregard for the American workers.
Top 1%? What do we call the top 1% whose wealth is not their own but is due to their access to and abuse of Tax Payer money?
Campaign Buses and POTUS family Tourism at the expense of the 'Tax Payers'. Yep, an Elite that is the top 1% by way of 'other people's money'.
Shouldn't the man of orange be introducing bills that eliminate women's rights? He doesn't have time to focus on this.
I am convinced that the man of orange rode to school in a short bus.
House Speaker John Boehner should get in his golf cart , light up a cigaret and drive to the nearest bar .
Oh , I forgot , thats what he dose everyday .
Boot Boehner out , do nothing tan man !
Really? When what the GOP/Taetrolls want to do is defund an important part of the ACA in order to pay for the extension of reduced interest rates...something they've completely mischaracterized as a "slush fund" in their hyperpartisan Luntzian code language and which the MSM has done NOTHING to educate the populace about so they can understand why it's not really a "slush fund"?
WHERE'S THE STORY ABOUT THE $1.3B IN INSURANCE PREMIUM REBATES EXPECTED TO BE HANDED OUT THIS YEAR BECAUSE OF THE ACA????
Please quit your whinning...how about you and your GOP House buddies pay us back for your lack of productivity. How many meaningful bills have you idiots passed? Or better yet, we want a refund in wages of each of you and your staff for wasting time on bills you knew would not pass in the senate or be vetoed by Obama.
Wouldn't it be great to also get a majority in the House so we don't have to deal with these GOP clowns. It really is a test to endurance to have to listen to them, and it is not just a few, it is all of them!
Can we please jump to November to four more years!
Obama must really strike a nerve with these guys because what other reason would they hate him so much, except that he is brown sugar!
If im not mistaken. A budget for the President to visit every state in the union has been in affect since Ike. When and which state is at the decretion of The President. Such childish games. People wake up and elect stateman! Not a bunch of whiners!
I never really cared much for Obama. Nut the more the GOP cries about him, the more I am starting to like the guy.
What's "pathetic" is how the GOP has been in combat with the President of the United States at every turn. Instead of working with to move the nation forward into a faster recovery, they've been agin' everything he's been 'fer.' The GOP needs to GO in November!