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. Outsider92

    Do you really have to tell elected officials to behave like adults?

    January 27, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Jamie

    Yeah! No twittering during speech, Cantor!!

    January 27, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Eric, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    More than the dems ever did for Bush.

    Obama knows now that he is completely incompetant and a one-term President that will make Jimmy Carter look like he was OK. Jimmy Carter should thank Obama for the lousy job he's doing.

    January 27, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. NC

    My gosh has this man lost his mind. We want the people in Washington to work together and get our Country moving again. I for one am sick and tired of no one wanting to compromise. If Republicans think they will be swept into office because they have stalled everything that will help our Country think again. The same for Democrats that refuse to budge. Vote everyone out in Congress and the Senate that are playing these games no matter what party they belong to. Enough of this foolishness.

    January 27, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. WOW!

    How considerate of him, however doesn't he really know what GOP stands for? Great Ol P-ks?

    January 27, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  6. rs

    So, they won't call him a terrorist, lie about where he was born or accuse him of setting up "Death Panels"? Maybe they'll be able to keep their mouths shut, and not accuse him of lying. All they have done this year is promote open racism, fear and loathing through their Tea Parties, and Fox News. They have blocked any attempt to correct their eight year nightmare, and said Obama did nothing for bi-patisanship. Yeah, they'll be respectful....

    January 27, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. Bill

    There is no such thing as respect and civility in Washington. The Democrats and the Republicans are at each others throats so adamantly that is its simply "in your face/cut your gonads off" mentality at the expense of the people of this country.

    Everything that either party says or does is with the thought of "will this get me re-elected and whether it will cost or gain me votes". It's all about power control and "in your face" politics.

    To heck with the country and its citizens.

    January 27, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Kobie

    Its absolutely insane that a leader in the Republican Party has to tell it's member to be respectful to The President of the United States, as if that shouldn't have already been assumed. I think the revolt aginst the administration that the Republicans are looking for will be the revolt that they didn't expect if the President is disrespected again. The lack of support and respect for this President is unprecedented. Honestly, I don't remember a President having to deal with so many issues at the same time. This country is in crisis and the rhetoric from the Republicans is clear....they have no plans to support any initiatives and would like to see him fail. Give the guy a break. He has been in office 1 year. He said "Change" will take time. We've given lesser men 4-8 years. I wonder why????????

    January 27, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Jimmy

    What's next–the GOP recruiting Aretha Franklin to belt out the song R-E-S-P-E-C-T? It's pathetic that politics in the US has even gotten to this point. But I guess it reflects the culture. Sorry state of affairs...

    January 27, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Ken in Gainesville

    Respectful? Republicans? Our own Cliff Stearns (R-FL) is holding a "trash the President" commentary right after the State of the Union speech. Big business, insurance companies, health care conglomerates, and agribusiness cannot wait to trash Mr. Obama and buy the next election. Fortunately for Mr. Stearns, he already knows their bidding. Respectful? Not on your life.

    January 27, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Joe Cotton

    Please let's all be real and stop the lies...NOTHING PRESIDENT OBAMA DOES OR SAYS WILL EVER BE RESPECTED AS COMING FROM OUR LEADER; THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD; THE RIGHT WITH ALWAYS BE AGAINT HIM...it's beginning to appear as if he was elected President just to defeat anything that my help the poor or those in need...shame on all that don't support the president.


    January 27, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Susan

    No one should have to remind the republicans to be respectful of President Obama when he gives his State of the Union Address ... after all, they aren't children; althought, their everyday actions aren't those of most adults. Like most children, they are finger pointers & whinners, yet they offer no alternative plans and they take absolutely no responsibility for their past actions, which have greatly lead to the downfall of our economy.

    January 27, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Steve

    How can one justify respect for a criminal? The sooner we get this liar, Obama and his cronnies out of office the better. America has been bamboozed!

    January 27, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Centrist

    Has my former Republican Party actually gotten to the point where they need House Minority Leader Boehner to tell them, in essence, to behave? Really?

    January 27, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Ethan

    The GOP never finishes what they start. Iraq. Afghanistan. Bipartisan legislation with Dems (stimulus, health care reform, financial reform). The Republican Party NEVER FINISHES WHAT THEY START! How can you trust them?!

    And when you're not looking -BAM- they're BUGGING THE PHONES OF DEMOCRATS!

    We STILL need CHANGE, America. The MIDDLE CLASS needs change and needs it badly. We will NEVER see change with the Republicans. All they do is stall, delay, deceive, deny, and obstruct.

    Think about that when you are upset at Congress in November.

    The Dems have passed the stimulus, helped rescue our economy from FREE FALL, and now are doing their best to provide SOLUTIONS to the problems of our vulnerable MIDDLE CLASS.

    If you don't want solutions and all you want is the STATUS QUO which we are in RIGHT NOW, then vote GOP. If you want CHANGE FROM THE STATUS QUO, keep electing Democrats. Simple as that.

    January 27, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. reality check

    The one thing Republicans seem to be missing is ideas, they know what they are against, but what are they for?

    If I remember right, Newt Gingrigh proposed his contract on America in 1994, and that gave the party a platform. What do they have to offer in 2010. Nothing! What I find scary is a large number of people seem to perfer nothing over attempted solutions. So the party that brought us goverment doesn't work, came to power and made sure goverment didn't work, now runs on a platform of don't trust the goverment to do anything. If we get elected we won't do anything that will harm big corporate profits. We can't because that is our base.

    The best solution we have is to give very rich people a tax cut, so they can invest more overseas, which provides more jobs overseas and cheaper products here. We will deregulate so the consumer wont know if the product is harmful. We will limit legal claims for injured parties so very rich people won't have to use their hugh profits defending themselves against the little people who get hurt using their products.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to give away the Republican agenda.

    January 27, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. sara

    "they already have people ready to march in the streets"....Mr. Boehner, America does not need your kind of thinking and "egging" on your right-wingnuts. We haven't forgotten the TEABAGGERS that attempted to Smear and Fear Healthcare Reform. The president has already froze the administration's salary earlier this year! This party of "NO" has already gotten together to oppose the President even further....and he wants to sit down? Mr. Boehner, we are tired of your "seat warming" party. This is NOT about you or your Party this is about the Nation. Have you forgot that 289 detainees of the Terror War, has been tried already in Federal courts....Progressives, it's our time to take it to the Streets. Fired Up and Ready to Go! These people have NO INTENTIONS OF WORKING WITH THIS CONGRESS OR THIS PRESIDENT.

    January 27, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. sara

    ...Oh, and by the way, your Tan is turning Orange!

    January 27, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. southerncousin

    Did you notice Boehner said he had not talked to Emmanual in a year. There is an administration that is reaching out in an effort to be bi-partisan. Another Obama lie. I love the fact is he is telling the Republicans not to act like the Democrats did when Bush gave SOTU messages. They were pretty bad. But they are liberals and they enjoy the double standards of the media reporting.

    January 27, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. Tim

    Respect requires you to speak the truth. Joe Wilson did.

    January 27, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Pa Santigie

    How does he expect to be spoken to when hes sworn to ensure the President's failure. The President needs to get it through his haed that the Republicans are never going to work with him- end of story.
    The instant he gets it and does what "W" did ie use his office to pick off key Republicans in the Senate at election time ,the better it will be for him. I fault the President for the loss of Ted's seat.....it is a big shame, the two Kennedy brothers must be rolling in their graves. It will serve him well if he recognizes that he is not going to get anywhere by playing soft ball with the Republicans. He needs to and must play smash mouth hard ball. If he continues this way even I will not vote for him...for a second term and I am as Democrat as they will ever come....take heed Mr. President, you need to play hard ball now.

    January 27, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Scott, Tucson

    True no sense voicing what everyone knows to be true, obama is a liar after all. And you libs thought Bush was bad.

    January 27, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. Beverly in NC

    Sorry Boehner, Republicans don't know the meaning of honor or respect. They are so eaten up with hate and pure terror of having an intelligent, progressive, world leader as President, who happens to be Black, they have spent this entire year trying (and failing) in bringing him down with lies, fear, hate, and promoting racist groups.

    Republicans have no respect or humanity for the People of our nation. They have opposed every single piece of legislation to help Americans as President Obama continues to clean up the disasters left over from the Bush years.

    We all know they were against the stimulus package which kept America from going off an economic cliff, were against extending unemployment insurance for working families, were against raising the pay for our soldiers so their families could get off food stamps, were against sending better protective gear to our soldiers overseas, were against equal pay for women and have obviously sided with the insurance industry to try to kil healthcare reform Americans are literally dying waiting to receive. Republicans don't care. As long as they and their white elitist buddies have what they need then to hell with the rabble beneath them.

    Republicans have been so crass to call poor people "stray animals we should not feed so they will quit breeding more we have to feed" (SC Republican this week). They are totally against aid for Haiti. the disgusting Limbaugh said the only reason President Obama was sending aid to Haiti was because they "were black people". I guess that explains Bush's non-response to the victims of Katrina for a week. After all they were just poor black people....not worthy of Republican concern.

    Just wait until the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union address. It will be negative, full of criticism, lies, and not offer one solution, real idea, or a willingness to finally get to work to help restore our nation. It will just be more Republican negative garbage we have all grown so tired of hearing. The do-nothing Party will continue to obstruct and do nothing and they expect us to vote for them??? What has a Republican done for YOU – other than work against you?

    Boehner won't be back after November. Ohio is furious with his lack of action all year. He has done nothing for them and has spent most of his time on the golf course and in his tanning bed. A true public servant!

    January 27, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. T'SAH from Virginia


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

    First of all – how did we get here??????????? RepubliCAN'Ts have "short-term-memory" and are stuck on STUPID!!!

    In 1994, we did not have the TEA-BAGGERS running around America spreading LIES and waking up the RACIST DEAD!!! If YOUR side of the party is so RIGHT – where is your diversity in COLOR???

    NOTHING was done in the 8 years BUSHwack ran the country... NOTHING but two wars that bankrupt us!! President Obama STOPPED a depression and YOU GUYS get no credit for it!!

    AND, your TERROR tactics are your best skills as you continue to SCARE people to DEATH – oh yea, that’s it – DIE QUICKLY!!!.............SUCH LOSERS!!

    January 27, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. tee

    Boner...when you grow up and act like a man.....maybe you will get to speak to a man.....rethugs act like children with all the whinning and lying.....I wouldn't give you the time of day......What has a rethug done for America over the last 30 years?

    January 27, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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