Boehner blasts Obama, weighs in on veepstakes
July 19th, 2012
04:17 PM ET
10 years ago

Boehner blasts Obama, weighs in on veepstakes

(CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday stood by his argument that President Barack Obama doesn't give a "damn" about unemployed, middle class Americans, saying Obama has been more focused on his role as candidate than president.

"The president checked out last Labor Day. And he's been on the campaign trail nonstop ever since," Boehner said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

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Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill the day prior that the president was attempting to divert attention from the economy in order to win re-election and "doesn't give a damn about the middle class Americans who are out there looking for work."

In a sit-down interview on Thursday, Boehner defended his comments and blasted the president's re-election campaign over its recent tactics.

"When you look at some of the nonsense that's gone on in the campaign here over the last couple of weeks, you begin to scratch your head," he said. "Somebody has got to speak English. And I'm not afraid to do it."

The Obama team has been spearheading a round of calls for Romney to release more tax returns than the two years' worth of information he has already made public. They argue the documents would answer questions about his offshore accounts and overseas investments.

Despite pressure from Democrats–and some Republicans-Romney has said the release of his tax returns will be sufficient with his 2010 return and his completed 2011 return to come out in October at the extended filing deadline.

Boehner, however, said he won't be joining the few from his party who are urging Romney to put forward more documents.

"I think it's a sideshow. He released his returns from 2010. He's going to release his returns from 2011. I think that's more than enough," the speaker said.

Answering questions about the increasing attention over Romney's running mate pick, Boehner said he has not been in contact with Romney about the presumptive GOP nominee's decision.

"He's got to keep this in a very closed circle. And I don't expect to be consulted. I don't need to be consulted," he said, adding that he generally doesn't "spend a lot of time talking" to Romney in the first place.

The speaker has faced criticism for his less-than-glowing praise for Romney since he became the presumptive GOP nominee. Boehner said last month that the "American people probably aren't going to fall in love" with Romney.

Defending his comments, Boehner said Thursday that he is, in fact, enthusiastic about the former Massachusetts governor but views the election more as a referendum on what he called Obama's "failed economic policies" than a choice between Romney and the incumbent.

"As a result, the American people, I think, will vote with their wallets," he said. "And I think Mitt Romney is going to win this election."

In the wide-ranging interview, Boehner also indicated he would stand firm in his commitment against passing the president's proposal to end the Bush-era tax cuts for households making more than $250,000 a year.

Both parties agree the tax breaks should be renewed for the 98% of those who fall under the threshold. With that in mind, the president has argued Congress should go ahead and pass the extension for that 98%, then debate about the remaining two percent later on.

Boehner, however, said the top two percent includes many small business owners, and argued it would be a "monumental mistake" for the still struggling economy to project a tax hike on those who fall in the bracket.

"What I'm trying to do is to protect all Americans and keep our focus on what the American people want us focused on, and that's the economy and jobs," the speaker said. "And if we're serious about getting the economy going and creating jobs, we need to extend all the current tax rates."

Pressed on whether he would be willing to pass a bill for the 98% now, then later work on a deal for the remainder, Boehner said: "It would be the wrong thing for the country to do."

The House speaker also commented on recent calls from Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota–and four other GOP members of Congress–for investigations of Islamic extremist infiltration in the federal government. They particularly target Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying she has family members tied to the "Muslim Brotherhood."

Boehner reiterated his defense of Abedin and said she has "sterling character." Describing the accusations as "dangerous," Boehner said he has not yet talked to Bachmann but added someone should "put out the facts."

"Frankly, there are enough legitimate issues that we need to work with here in town, here in Washington, that I just am very concerned about the direction that this thing takes," he said.

- CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

Filed under: 2012 • John Boehner • Mitt Romney • President Obama • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Yes because not caring or doing anything about the unemployed will surely get him re-elected. Why don't you pass his jobs bill in the house first and then lets talk about how much he cares for the unemployed you useless GOP hypocrites!

    July 19, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    This idiot is a total nonsense to this nation. He does not know as to what he is saying. Let me ask this guy, where is the JOBS BILL??? Obama12.
    PS: show ten years of taxes, taking tax heaven in cayman islands, Swiss, Bermuda. Nonsense.

    July 19, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    The tan bluster from Ohio needs a drink. John, be a dear and have Willard and Mrs. Anntoinette fetch us (ya know: you people ) those tax returns. Run along Sport, chop-chop.

    July 19, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. n

    You know Boehner, you are, by far, the worst speaker of the House . . . ever in America's history of House Representatives. History will not be kind to you. You are the one who has been missing in action and the funny thing is, you have been present in body only. One more thing, Boehner, where are the Jobs?

    July 19, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. jag

    It's because he gives a damn that he is multi-tasking as Commander in Chief and candidate. Do you really think he should just stand by and take the smack down that is sure to come his way from his opponent(s)?. If he doesn't get re-elected all his hard work will be for naught. This gibberish is just to keep him in check so that he loses. On the other hand, our elections have become a bit of a side show because of Citizens United and reality tv.

    July 19, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. some guy in New Hampshire

    Perhaps Mr. Boehner can provide a list of the accomplishments his Republican Party in Congress has achieved in promoting jobs. Let's see - ignored the American Jobs Act the president proposed, filibustered a small-business bill that could have created huge numbers of jobs, obsessed about women's bodies and repealing the health insurance reform law instead of delivering the jobs, jobs, jobs Mr. Boehner promised in 2010. Where are the jobs, Mr. Boehner?

    July 19, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. Guest

    Boehner's being a bit hypocritical here. After all, the entire republican party checked out in November 08, and has been on the campaign trail ever since.

    July 19, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. n

    Why would these news reporters (and I say news reporters, reluctantly) ask Boehner any questions and expect a unbiased answer. Media, start doing your job, let him know of his hypocrisy. Ask him, where are the jobs that he and his party promised in 2010 when they took control of the house. Never mind, can you say chicken hawk news people?

    July 19, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    The GOP/Teatrolls checked out in January 2009. What's this liquored up crybaby's freekin point?

    July 19, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. BLKMANinAmerica

    You and all the repuks in Congress REALLY DO NOT GIVE A DAYUMMMM about middle American's employed or unemployed.

    July 19, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    ""And if we're serious about getting the economy going and creating jobs, we need to extend all the current tax rates.""

    Translation: "Here that big business? Just hold out on spending all that capital a little longer and we'll be able to get you more tax cuts in exchange for giving us a terrible economy to blame on President Darky!"

    July 19, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. BLKMANinAmerica

    WHERE on earth are the jobs bone-head Boehner that you and repuks who ran for Congress in 2010 said you deliver? Not one time since 2010 have the repuks in Congress even considered any bill to get jobs in America. You (Boehner) should shut-up or listen to your own words about President Obama, maybe then you will try and do something to make yourself the all the repuks in Congress looks as if your WORKING for someone other then the 1%ers.

    July 19, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Boehner ,
    as long as he or she is Republican , plays golf , enjoys a good Bourbon and doesn't mind second hand smoke , I'm fine with them. We will get things done here again in Washington.


    July 19, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. ted

    term limits, term limits, term limits, PLEASE, term limits. everyone in congress spends his or her political career, working to get reelected. an end to the career politician.... Boehner included.

    July 19, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. griffbos

    JOhn, what is there in washington for him to do you and your fellow repubs have blocked everything he has attempted to create jobs and move the country forward, just today the Senate repubs blocked a plan to keep americans jobs in AMercia and not outsourse them, I guess you need to look in the mirror along with the rest of your party, sadly I think I need to leave the party and become an independent as the party no longer represents my values

    July 19, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Darryl

    President Obama has been attacked continually for 3 1/2 years, everything he has put forward has been rejected totally.He has had to defend his self over and over not to mention his supporters defending him too.His Presidency has been non acceptable from the Republican T-Party from day 1. their goal ? to do absolutely NOTHING and make him a 1 term POTUS period.Now he is in the fight of his beliefs and reputation of defending the american democracy we all live by. I have never seen suck discord,demonizing,bitterness,disrespect and everything else any one person could immagine.This country should be ashamed of itself and imbarassed of how we have let this continue on an on as long as it has.Mabe Some of the respectable Republicans left can do something to STOP this from going any further. This country does NOT deserve this at all !!!

    July 19, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. jammed up

    Hey Boehner...... Do America a favor..........put together a jobs bill that will put people to work. do your job, rather than mocking and pointing fingers at the president. when you get a jobs bill passed that will put people to work, retire, play golf, and tan.

    July 19, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. So what's your solution GOP idiots?

    I know. I know. "More tax cuts for the rich to create jobs!!!!!!" In India & China.

    July 19, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. Mr. Squeaker

    Hey, Mr. Squeaker of the House: You say "the president checked out last Labor Day."

    When did the Republicans in Congress check out? Wasn't it years earlier when your buddy Mitch McConnell told the world: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

    Talk about removing any doubt!

    Congress is denying Obama support for his policies to politically damage him. If making the President's failure is your top priority, you can hardly blame him, no matter how much you want to curse about it, for not passing the jobs bill that you jerks are refusing to act on. If you and your Republican and Tea Party buddies think the American people are stupid enough to fall for these tactics, you need to have your orange head examined. If the American people reward the Republicans in Congress for this type of behavior, will there ever be an end to gridlock in Congress? Will each party just forever refuse to compromise with the other ad infinitum, in perpetuity, etc.? It has to stop now. The American people need to send a message to you and your obstructionist buddies that we are not going to take it anymore.

    I'm not going to vote with my wallet, I'm going vote with my conscience and hope that Congress gets the message that placing your own political ambitions before that of the American people you were elected to represent is not acceptable behavior and will not be rewarded, or we're doomed to see it repeated over and over and over and over and over.

    July 19, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. George from NC

    No matter how many time Boehner says it a lie is still a lie. The man has lost all dignity and does not deserve the honor of being called a representative of the people.

    July 19, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. Rick

    Romney, Boehner, McConnell and Bachmann are the most un Americans individuals in our government. Obama has done more to keep this nation safe, then G. Bush ever attempted too. Republicans and there continual lies about Obama not being an American is an insult to the American people. Republicans will be so defeated in November. They have no solutuons for jobs, economy or anything else. It is just a continual attach on Obama. This is a concerted racial attack by the Republicans.

    July 19, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    It sounds like Boehner needs a drink. Just think about what he said and see if this makes sense to you. If unemployment goes UP doesn't that mean less of a chance the president would be re-elected? How ignorant can you get?

    president was attempting to divert attention from the economy in order to win re-election and "doesn't give a damn about the middle class Americans who are out there looking for work."

    July 19, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. ted

    and yes, by all means Boehner, RETIRE..... we (what is left of the middle class) will pay for your health coverage.
    take Mr. Cantor with you, Please.

    July 19, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Ronda in Houston,TX

    The Senate voted and said NO to the Jobs Bill. And acourse, this will be Obama's fault.

    July 19, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    and the GOP just voted down another jobs bill. Boenher blasted the Democrats and Obama about wanting to see Romney's tax returns saying the American people want JOBS, JOBS, JOBS but when it was bought to his attention that there are many REPUBLICANS that also want him to show those returns he couldn't get away from the podium fast enough. The GOP cares only for those making $250..000 and over.

    July 19, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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