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. Stan

    Time to climb in the tanning bed.

    July 19, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. Donald in CA

    Yea, this coming from a guy who cant control his own congress. The young tea party guns run his majority congress. I dont think this is the guy even republicans should be listening to.

    July 19, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. WeR4Freedom

    Too bad Obama doesn't understand economics rather failed obamanomics. Obama, taking care of the 98% and dividing the country is initialing it worse not better. America needs the 2% you excluded from a break to re-invest in the free market and economy to help pay salaries to the 98% out there... Or should I say less than that because over 20,000,000 are looking for work. Wake up!!!!

    July 19, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  4. geggyg

    How dare Pres Obama campaign for relection he should stay confined in the WH and not make any comments until the day before Election day , and the repubs might let make a 15 sec announcement(if its not too political and devisive ) for people to vote for him

    July 19, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. n

    Does boehner have a drinking problem that's keeping him from doing his job properly?

    July 19, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. when your nightmares end WILLARD begins

    the GOP wants JOBS, JOBS, JOBS they just don't want it to happen under OBAMA, OBAMA, OBAMA!! If it were to happen under him and the economy gets real better then Mitt is back in one of his many houses after Nov 6th.
    BTW.....if you REALLY want to see some "cry babies" go visit the FoxNews website sniff sniff sniff.

    July 19, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. W l jones

    Some people can chew gum and talk all at the same time..while other have trouble durning one. Said enough.

    July 19, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. jerry

    obama never checked in...always run on his own ego and ignorance...results prove it.

    July 19, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. fullclarity

    Give it a rest, John. YYou know that's nothing but GOP rubbish. How about a bit of leadership now, consistent with your office. Meanwhile, America waits for you to do something other than hyperpartisanship.

    July 19, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  10. Jeettu

    THe speaker has once again shown that he and his republcian party don't care for Americans but for themselves and their rich friends. He balmes Obama for campaigning when the republicans have been campaigining against Obama ever since he was elected in 2008. Further, why is the US Congress wasting our resources and tme by not doing anything constructive. They had the time to pass a resolution in the house to repeal healthcare 33 times and not vote on really important issues for the, country. They have once again sopped the creation of jobs in America.

    I think we should demand our money back from Congress as they have been disfunctional and unproductive wasteful. I would like them to refund every penny they used of our money an pay us for interest and penalty on that.. Furthermore, as they would fire others who won't produce, I would suggest they fire themselves and go home to save us from disaster

    July 19, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. just

    Boehner thinks voters are stupid, we do not know he is lying.

    July 19, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. just

    I have never seen him say anything that makes sense.We are not that stupid, Boehner

    July 19, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. Rick in Phx

    @ CryBabies

    LOL LOL LOL... Your post shows EXACTLY why we independents consider republicans and democrats to be sheep. WHO exactly do you think is examining the economy and jobs? Your "great mormon hope" spent the republican primaries talking about abortion, gay rights, amnesty ect..... He still to this day has not stated any plans he has for the economy other than we'll all find out after he gets elected LOL LOL LOL. Kinda like a car salesman telling you that you can test drive the car after you've paid for it. Your statement "Why would he keep running for president" is classic. At least you're acknowledging, "perhaps without knowing it" that instead of using his wealth to create jobs like the great republican philosophy says. He's using his to keep running for president LOL that's just classic.

    July 19, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  14. Melo-D

    If the GOP cares so much why don't they pass the freakin jobs bill, they won't even bring it up for a vote. How anyone can still believe the garbage that the GOP spouts is beyond me.

    July 19, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. dave

    John Boehner can say anything he wants to about our choice for president but he might want to check out his own record over the last 2 years. He has managed the poorest attendance record for the house that i can remember, he has set a record for the poorest output of work in the houses history and has wasted millions of tax payer dollars by repealing health care 33 times knowing it does not have a snowballs chance in hell of passing right know! He prides himself as a supporter of capitalism but i have got to say as a former small business owner if someone who worked for me had his attendance record , never did anything important for me and wasted alot of time trying to do the same failed idea 33 times I WOULD HAVE FIRED HIM LONG AGO!

    July 19, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  16. n

    U are the worst house speaker we have had in congress what have u done for the American people. Show some respect Mr Obama is still the president of united states. Respect the office. I have no idea how u became the speaker and a congressman. Were the people of Ohio drunk when They went to vote.

    July 19, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Gilbert

    That is the problem with this president. Can not get anything in 4 years and still has the gut to ask for another 4.
    Any management leader of any company would have to resign. Can't he see the problem. He is the problem

    July 19, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. C MAN

    Im so tired of all the hate coming from the "RIGHT". They really do "Hate" this president because he's black thats it! He has been trying to do so much but they are hell bent on stopping "EvERYTHING" he is trying to do to help. The more you try to stop him the better he looks. OBAMA 2012!!!!!

    July 19, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  19. Jeff in TX

    Romney/Zimmerman 2012.

    July 19, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. obynoreg

    I really think that politicians think that we are stupid and don't understand what the game is like. Cry Baby J.B telling me that the 1%ers are the small businesses is a flat out lie. Let him know that there is a difference between GE and ge.

    July 19, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    Obama is a blessing for USA.

    July 19, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  22. anthony78

    Where are all the JOBS JOBS JOBS John? Oh.. the Senate JUST voted it down...
    Romney where are your tax docs to prove you are paying your fair share?
    You're wife calls us "you people". I guess she'll be saying "let them eat cake" next.
    Hey Romney, tell your rich buddies to stop sending jobs overseas. Hey John.. tell the corporate job creators they'll get their bush tax breaks back when the quit outsourcing, and actually start hiring.

    Oh.. and Mitt.. where are the tax docs... (yes, i'll remind you again..)

    July 19, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  23. Steve

    Boehner needs to man up and embrace sobriety. He appears to be a step behind on every issue, dazed and confused.

    July 19, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  24. Ricardo

    Good for u, boehner. U n ur collegue said at the beginning u r going to make Obama one term President. Now ur dreams almost come true. Good job guys, for using tax payers money by doing nothing.

    July 19, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  25. Steve

    Boehner needs to man up and embrace sobriety. He appears to be a incoherent, and step behind on every issue, and dazed and confused.

    July 19, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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