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. Gary

    Bohener sure is doing a lot of talking. The reason you don't have a private dialague with the POTUS is because you have showed that you are against anything and everything.
    Even a broken clock is right twice a day. How can the president be wrong 100% of the time.
    Oh yeah, you repubs all got excited when he escalated the war in Afganistan.
    You want your fellow repubs to respect Him tonight, " Do as I say, Not as I do"
    You'd better bring your copy oif the Constitution to wave around.
    You are a laughable fool. You complain about the stimulis but Ohio has recieved billions. You don't even know whats happening in your own state, you're so busy trying to bring down the president.
    Guess what sun tan boy, we can see thru you.

    January 27, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  2. Mark

    "....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....."

    Considering the utter contempt and lack of respect that Boehner and fellow conservatives have shown this President, he is shocked? It is hard to work with somebody if one openly talks ill of them.

    Saying no to everything is not public policy but political policy. Now that the supermajority is gone, as well as any shred of goodwill that comes with a new administration, Conservatives have to put serious proposals on the table that are not just political statements to their base.

    January 27, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. RH

    Why is there no article about the infiltration of Mary Landrieu's office on CNN?

    January 27, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I guess that means the Republicans will put a muzzle on that ignoranmous Joe Wilson, they should be embarrassed to ask him to speak. But then again ignorant people like Joe Wilson hope that other ignorants will fall in line behind him. Republicans don't understand there are bright, intelligent, young people out there who don't adhere to ignorance.

    January 27, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. chaser

    There is this he said she said thing happenning right now where the administration claimed the GOP are not working with them and GOP are claiming the WH has excluded them from all talks. I was curious about which side is really telling the truth....then just the other day i saw a clip where obama said something to the effect of.....'"..i'm busy sweeping up the mess these folks made so i want them to sit down and stop talking". This helped me determined that it has been Obama that excluded the GOP in much of his decisions and policies up to now. He, up to now, has wanted the GOP members to sit and not talk so he can sweep. The strange thing with all this sweeping that Obama has done in the past year is....the whole place looks much dirtier then it was before he began sweeping. Perhaps the president can continue to sweep in 2010 but let some republicans help guide him on how to hold the broom.

    January 27, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. notfooledbydistractions

    So Mr. Wilson has vowed not to put his ignorance and bigotry on display on a national platform again?

    His act was despicable.

    January 27, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. Robert

    Why try to have a dialogue with Republicans when the Administration and Democrats already know what Repubs will say to everything: "NO!" Republicans are the "do nothing" party unless it means helping corporations and the rich.

    January 27, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. jc

    Why would anyone take a meeting with you. No matter what is said, what is put forth, no matter what the American public wants done, your only reply is NO! NO, NO,NO,NO.

    And you ask why there is gridlock?

    January 27, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. JD

    I suggest Republicans be as respectful to 0bama as Democrats were to Bush when they booed him during a joint session of Congress.

    Respect goes both ways, people. Don't show any? Don't get any.

    January 27, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Felonious Monk


    If a dem had shouted this at the bush you guys would have called him a traitor.
    Remember, you are either with the president, or against America!!!

    January 27, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. RH

    Never mind. Sorry about that, CNN. Still, the story hasn't been given the prominence it's due.

    January 27, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Brian

    It's sad when one of the leaders of the GOP has to get out front and plead for his colleagues to be respectful. What happened to manners and civil discourse in this country?

    January 27, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Mike Syracuse, NY

    I guess not talking to Republican leadership is Barry's idea of being bipartisan.

    January 27, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. Tracy

    Good for him. They should be considerate and respectful despite disagreements.

    January 27, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. L for Legend

    Anyone who disrupts the state of the union address tonight should be thrown out on his behind. It's foolish to think that someone would dishonor the office of the presidency. No warnings should be necessary, but I would have security there just in case some fool tried to pull another wilson.

    January 27, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Brian

    They have not been respectful so far, why the change of heart, Johnnie Boy? I do not think I have seen this clown smile since the day Obama was sworn in.

    January 27, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. Obama = WORST president EVER

    yes, unlike the treatment President Bush received from Democrats.

    January 27, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Elizabeth

    He should not even have to say that, they should know better. The arrogance of the Republicans is beyond belief. They don't own the floor anywhere. With all the problems Obama inherited from the Bush administration plus the constant bad-mouthing and lack of cooperation from the Republicans, its a wonder he hasn't given up. If the Republicans think they are just going to come back in 2012 and take over, they are making a serious error in judgement. No one wants back the policies that got us where we are now. Such a bunch of selfish, self-centered ego-maniacs.

    January 27, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Republican response: blah, blah, Obama failed because he didn't do anything AND because he completely changed everything at the same time. Pretty much the same thing as republicans have been saying from months before Obama even took office. They are a broken record, can't even come up with anything new to say except parrot their beloved pundits.

    January 27, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Abe

    Mr. Boehner is smart to tell his colleagues to give respect to the president of the country at tonight's state of the union address. Nobody wants to hear again the disrespectful act that was aired by Mr. Joe Wilson. Everybody should know he is the peoples president whether you are a democrat or a republican. We can agree to disagree in our chambers ,not tonight when the whole world is watching. We have an obligation , tradition to uphold and respecting the presidency as politicians and for once leave politics aside and listen. We cannot communicate if everyone is talking and interrupting. God Bless our country.

    January 27, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. sensible Cape Coral FL

    What has our country come to when one of our leaders (?) has to beg his colleagues to behave themselves in the presence of the President on the United States?

    January 27, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Hugo

    "I have not talked to Rahm Emanuel in a year," Boehner said, speaking of the president’s chief of staff and former Democratic congressman.

    John, do not worry, you will be able to ask him many questions in the near future while he is under indictment for campaign fund fraud and negotiating a sale of Obama's senate seat...

    January 27, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. HypocriCNN/FOX Nuisense Are Antichrists Of News!

    Congressman John Boehner...Bohner...Bonehead! R-Ohio Is Doing Nothing More Than Trying To Save Face, All While Hiding Behind His Propetuating Discontent Of President Obama And His Administration.

    January 27, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Why on earth would the President or his Chief of Staff bother to speak with you Boehner when you have done nothing but obstruct, complain and slander them? The polarization can be directly attributed to you and the Republican party. The President extended a hand at the beginning of his term and you slapped it away. You are truly useless.

    January 27, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |


    January 27, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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