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. kathy/Minnesota

    Why are J.B. eyes always blood shot? BECAUSE HE IS A DRUNK!!!!! we all know the plan from day one, say no to everything , make President Obama look stupid, and defeat him in 2012.Did anybody ever think this will backfire? now we are back to he is different, not one of us? get over it already, this is horrible to treat ANYONE like this? HATE,HATE,HATE,HATE. VERY SAD.

    July 19, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. incredulous

    See the story about Republicans voting down the jobs bill. Who is it that doesn't care about Americans?

    July 19, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Seriously?

    It boggles my mind that Republicans "beat the bushes" (no pun intended) to find a candidate...any candidate to run for President in 2012 that was not Romney. They jumped on the Michele Bachmann train until they realized she was a time-bomb, they got Jeb Bush to try to convince Marco Rubio to run....they got behind Tim Pawlenty until he offended women, they got behind Rick Perry until the debates showed he didn't have what it would take..they even asked us to take Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump seriously.. (really???really?) .they dogged Chris Christie until he FINALLY convinced them he wouldn't run even tried to convince the American public that Herman Cain represented a viable candidate until he imploded. Now after months of proving they didn't believe in Mitt Romney they want to convince voters that "He" is the answer to all of our woes. Voters are not as stupid as some may believe and many no longer care about party affiliations. What does seem to matter is electing officials who will work for the American public. Clearly this Congress won't or can't. I hope this November will reflect the diversity and intelligence of American beliefs. Obama 2012!

    July 19, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. CryBabies

    Gurgyl...Your take on politics is getting old and people..especially you and the regulars( Sniffit, Larry L (Georgetown, Tx.) California Woman, Rudy in NY , Think again, The Real Tom Paine etc...) need to get a life. I get the feeling you all were always last to get picked at recess for teams. Quit wallowing in the mud and get on with your lives! And if you want taxes exposed , fine ....Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Waters, Dodd, Rangel I'm sure would step right up and offer theirs.Romneys accountant does what accountants do....and if they don't do it right, they pay dearly for it. I'm sure Romney is on the straight and narrow. Why would he not be when running for President? I'm afraid that probably not the case for the above mentioned representatives. So keep whining while the rest of us examine the economy and jobs. Pitiful!!

    July 19, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. v_mag

    Flash! The House has been infiltrated - by a drunk Speaker! Well, he looks drunk to me, and he's making as much sense as a drunk.

    July 19, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Marto

    Get this garlly cry baby out office. He is useless and disgusting. O

    July 19, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. Ancient Texan

    The campaigning has been non stop for 5 years, no time out to be a leader for all of the citizens of the nation.

    July 19, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Ancient Texan

    CryBabies- EXCELLENT POST ! You said it all and very nicely.

    July 19, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Pete

    @cry babies,time for you republican hypocrites to get your heads out of your asses,take my advise its sunny out here and not as congested!!

    July 19, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. CBR

    He blasted the President. Boehner has not performed well in the role of Speaker. He has not lead the Congress in anything but has plenty to say about others.

    He should have blasted Rep. Bachmann but instead he made a wishy washy statement. He has not done a good job and has not been able to get his party and the Democrats together. Very disappointing.

    July 19, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    @ CryBabies

    Call me whatever you want (in your basement behind your parents computer) but that won't change my vote.
    Obama 2012

    July 19, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Expat American

    Boehner needs to spend less time ‘blasting’, less time crying, and go back to stacking jugs of moonshine ‘in his daddy’s redneck KKK bar’; because he never delivered any the jobs jobs jobs that the GOP saviors promised.

    July 19, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  13. Blind Trust

    @CryBabies and the others who keep hurling personal insults about other people you don't even know, "you people" always seem to step up to the plate and insult people personally just because they don't agree with your political leanings. It must just crawl all over you that everyone does not see things your way. People are out there that don't agree with you. Try not to go off the deep end over it, okay?

    You want to see Pelosi's taxes? She promises to release them if she runs for President.

    You state: I'm sure Romney is on the straight and narrow. Why would he not be when running for President?

    The answer to your question is: Greed.

    You think all candidates that run for President are on the "straight and narrow" just because they are running for President? It is your right as an American to blindly trust a politician if you like, but don't get all bent out of shape if the majority of the country doesn't. I think like maybe 90% of the country would disagree with you that a politician must be "straight and narrow" just because he is running for President. Seriously.

    July 19, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. ezduzit757

    I am so sick of people complaining about Obama campaigning. ALL first term presidents do this! It is the way the system is designed. What is he supposed to do? Not campaign and just hand the job over to Mitt. Bush did it, Regan did it, Clinton did it – they ALL do it. They HAVE TO do it. If you don't like it CHANGE THE SYSTEM.

    July 19, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Chuck Jones

    American Politics is a joke, there is so much fighting, everyday and noone works for the people as they should be...shame shame shame!!!!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  16. gop usa

    I own a Construction Compny in Chicago with over 80 workers,this bill would definately helped me hire. Also the infrastructure bill the repubs dragged their feet on made me lay off many workers till they finally passed one that barley meets americas needs. So far the repubs have done more to make me lay off employies,and have not done anything to help business owners like me. The only help I have recieved is from the dems giving me small tax breaks,which is a good start but this bill would have allowed me to hire maybe a few more including veterans and some new equipment.Thanks gop for all the non help you have given me and my employies......This will be my first vote for the dems this november,the repub party has proven time after time they care nothing for the middleclass,jobs,veterans,or the elderly,poor. The gop cares only for the economy to tank to get the flipper Romney elected,sorry but as a repub I am disgusted at the dishonesty and flipping Romney has done and I cannot trust a man with those qualitys and vote for him .

    July 19, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. dowdotica

    so rages the war of intelligence and ig-nance. i thinkn i'm going to vomit, only because i know so many right wing retards and they just don't get it. Watch to much of the little red dog network and listen to blow holes like limpnut and beck!yike to effin mike!!!

    July 19, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Bob

    Crybabies – "I'm sure Romney is on the straight and narrow."

    Then he should man up and prove it.

    Otherwise, he is a liar and a cheat, and you are a fool.

    July 19, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. Truth Bearer1

    Boehner is so out of touch with America. Obama is doing whatever it takes to put people back to work and supporting the middle class. In fact, he put into Congress a bill that would give tax breaks for companies that brought jobs back to America instead of outsourcing. It was the Boehner and his party that kept this bill from becoming a law. If anyone doesn't give a damn about the middle class who are out looking for jobs, it's Boehner and his Republican pals.

    July 19, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  20. MoninDenver

    Bottom-Line, Boehner and his entire crew must get out of the People's house. The Republican Congress are the one's not creating JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! I Blame Boehner, McConnel and Cantor.

    July 19, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. CryBabies

    Nice comeback WIC?!? Not hoping to change your vote...just tired of all your groups sniffling and whining! Hate to see this country turn into a European Annex. " You people" in California are living that dream already!

    July 19, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Yvette

    Really, he thinks the America People are really stupid. We all know who is blockiing the jobs.....and its not the President !

    July 19, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  23. RS, CA

    Boehner is EXACTLY right. Except that Obama has non stop campaigned since his second day in office! "Ask not what I can do for my country, ask what I can do exclusively for myself" is Obama's motto.

    Romney 2012!

    July 19, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  24. A Disgusted Former Republican

    Did Boehner sober up enough to speak intelligibly? Surprise, surprise!

    July 19, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  25. BeverlyNC

    Boehner is the worst Speaker the House has had in decades. He cannot control the lunatic Tea Party group that has tried to kill healthcare 33 times, the healthcare rights of women 136 times, and yet guess how many JOBs bill they have created or voted to pass? ZERO. Republicans in Congress are not there to serve We the People. They serve the corporations who buy them and then betray us and try to blame their obstructionism on President Obama. Sorry, Boehner. We figured out a long time ago, obstructionist Republicans were betraying We the People and could care less about restoring our economy, could care less about Jobs, and now have put up Romney who has no clue how We the People live or what we need or what our struggles are. Romney is not credible, not honest, and is incapable of any moral leadership we can trust. The GOP should replace him because he has no chance now of competing on any level with the People's President in Obama.

    July 19, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
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