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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/27/art.getty.boehner.jpg caption="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. Doug

    The reason by Boehner isn't invited is because while he's willing to "talk" he only wants things his way or no way. It's why the the GOP is called the party of "no". Obama doesn't need to talk to him, he can't get a recording of him and anytime he would ask him for is opinion he just can play it saying "No"

    January 27, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. nomorepoliticsplease

    Ohhh, lookie! The widdle children have been told that they have to behave! OMG!!!!! this all just gets ridiculouser and ridiculouser. it's like a bad reality show. boehner is a boob anyhow, and i'm from Ohio. SO glad he decided to instruct his brood to be good little boys and girls tonight.

    January 27, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Centrist

    "No" interaction is unfortunately another lie from Boehner when the president has specifically met with Boehner & other Republicans to respectfully and considerately try to work with them.

    Bipartisanship is a two-way street and responsibility, Boehner.

    January 27, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Peejay

    "But Boehner – wary about disrupting what he called political wind at Republicans’ backs now – "

    More like political wind out of Republicans' backsides.

    January 27, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Stop the Nonsense

    How sad is it the the Senator even feels he needs to remind any member of Congress to be "respectful and considerate".
    It says everything about what is wrong with our Congress today. If these people- both sides- would act as "people" we would not be in the shape we are. Regardless of party, we are ALL AMERICANS. It is AMERICANS they are there to represent. Not Republicans, not Democrats, not converatives and not liberals.

    January 27, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. tdub

    Until Mr Boehner and his colleagues fess up to the fact that GOP free-spending and their cozy relationship with big business helped lead this country into this mess, he and his party have no credibility. And the 100% opposition to Obama has been less Obama's methodology, but the fact the GOP has adopted an "oppose at all costs" policy to basically ANYTHING Obama wants to accomplish. They offer few alternatives, other than murky generalities, to "cut spending, eliminate big governments and save taxpayers (code word for more tax cuts for the weatlhy and pennies for the middle class).

    It's a sham and hardly Obama's fault that ignorant citizens and flighty independents are too lazy to read into the details beyond the headlines they only seem to read.

    January 27, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. james Miller

    Bipartisianship is a joke and everyone knows it. It`s POLITICS.–Bush took partisianship to a new level. Boehner is just doing his " Who - Me? " act.

    January 27, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. John

    Ok so whats the big deal with this big mouth spouting how bad he has it? I have listened to him on the Evening News in adnauseum. To me he has been a total jerk – just has perfect hair oh Boy. Like he never diod anything to ebncourage the polarization? give me a break!
    It stuill takes 2 to tango wether the republican evangelicals think so or not!

    January 27, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. nomorepoliticsplease

    i mean, really? what kind of united states are we living in that he has to TELL the members of congress to be considerate and respectful to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?????????
    i give up!

    January 27, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. YGBSM!

    Really?! Really?! Now we have to ask people who are supposed to be "professionals" to be respectful of the President of the United States?! What has become of this country and its electorate? Can anyone ever remember congressmen/women and senators being asked to be respectful of their President? Truly amazing!

    Secondly, why should anyone from the Obama adminsitration talk to anyone in the Republican party? The republicans have made it a point to not compromise or meet the President half way on ANYTHING! Why bother with the party of NO!

    January 27, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. johnrj08

    This is tantamount to a third grade teacher having to remind his students to behave themselves on a field trip. Speaks volumes about the mindset of the Republican Party.

    January 27, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    Well Mr. Boehner if you have made it clear that your response to everything is going to be "NO", whatelse is there to talk about. You and your party have made it clear that even as the Minority Party, it is either going to be your way or no way. Either you or your party has made an effort to stop legislation with a filibuster about 110 or 112 times this past year and you and or your party has holds on just about every person nominated to head an agency in the government. You and your party have demostrated that your sole interest is the destruction of this nation from within unless you get this your way. You and your party complaine and gripe about Democrats wanting to "RAM" things down the throats of the American people while back when you and your party were in power, you did the same thing except that you pushed programs through the House and Senate without any means to pay for them and in the case of the war , you didn't even include it's cost in the budget.

    Democrats are not in much better shape than Republicans as it appears the levels of stupidity are about equally shared between you both, they are the Majority and as such, both of you should find ways to work together. If you and your Republicans and my Democrats were my two sons, I would put you both up for adoption to some family in Siberia and I would pay all expenses for them to get you. That is just how angry many Americans, both Democrats and Republicans are with all of you today. Open your eyes today or you will never see the light of the next congress except from your homes on TV.

    January 27, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. gt

    the postion needs respect .. no matter the party..

    January 27, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Albert K. L.A., CA

    Remember when you were a kid and dad would embarrass you and your siblings in public places saying out loud so all could hear, “Now you kids behave and act respectful.” Next Boehner will spit in his hand to pat down their cowlicks to get'em ready to take pictures.

    January 27, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. cane

    Wow this says a lot about the Republicans when their leader in the House of Representatives has to remind his caucus to be respectful of the President of the United States.

    YEAH, YEAH, Republicans – please just quietly go AWAY.


    January 27, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Alex

    It's amazing (and shameful) that Republican adults have to be reminded to be respectful.

    January 27, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Dean in Florida

    Not hanging Obama would be respectful enough.

    January 27, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Ken in NC

    Sorry about the misspells but I am angry.

    January 27, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. wait a minute

    I did not vote for Obama, but you will respect my President.

    January 27, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. psgmichigan

    I hope that Mr. Boehner talks to his minority about doing something other than just voting "NO" every time. They are hurting American with their emphasis on politics instead of the issues needed

    January 27, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. bill


    January 27, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. alphonso

    all u repubs are trailer park trash

    January 27, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |

    The GOP Dont know how to be respectful and considerate for a party that supports the Tea baggers and their disgust TRY AGAIN GOP!!

    January 27, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Mar

    Do the republicans really need to be told to be respectful towards the president of the United States?

    January 27, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. respect

    This goes both ways, the admin, pelosi and reid sure have not been respectful of the opinion of the Majority of the American people. Arrogance, arrogance, arrogance.

    January 27, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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