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. DGR

    @ Woman in California

    Call me, a conservative, whatever you want (in your house behind your computer) but that won't change my vote.
    Romney 2012

    July 19, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. when your nightmares end WILLARD begins

    there is so much "whine" over on the FoxNews website daily they should offer cheese to go with it.

    July 19, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. Buckeye

    It appears Ancient Texan might be Senile Texan. And CryBaby - is that you Johnny Bonehead? We're all so sure that Mittens is on the straight and narrow. We just want to follow Ronny Reagan's advice of trust and verify. So you can cry all you want, but the taxes will be a central issue until he releases them. If he doesn't we'll all just presume that he has something shady and does not want to reveal it to the American people.
    And tell us all, what exactly about Romney do you support? Three things.

    July 19, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. GetReal

    I can't tell which is more disgusting, Bonher or McConnell. Both have made every effort to destroy our country, just to unseat our President. Neither have a clue about how to get our nation back onto its feet. They are nothing but saboteurs. We need to get the do nothing GOTP out of Congress.

    July 19, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. CryBabies

    @ WiC.... Nice try @ demeaning me....I've seen it many times in your past responses to people you disagree with. My point is "you people" just keep whining about insignificant topics, obviously to deflect attention away from the real issue....the economy. If you think Romney or his accountants are going to do anything outside the law regarding his taxes, you are clueless. He's successful, very wealthy so what??? This is the LAND OF OPPORTUNITY! Shall we hold his wealth against him...obviously liberals do. God forbid that people in this country should be successful and wealthy. This administration is heading us toward a European annexation. You people in California are living that dream already, don't drag the rest of us down.

    July 19, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  6. Grumpy

    It doesn't much matter what Boehner mumbles at us. Its safer to just read the official GOP press release on the subject, which states the position that is binding to all GOP legislators, who have been forbidden to think or speak for themselves by the GOP central committee. Moscow? No, Washington, DC!

    July 19, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  7. Name Craig

    This guy and his arrogant flunkies are the ones that don't give a damn. From the moment Obama took office their agenda was to make him look bad, block all kinds of jobs bill etc. Until the next election came around! Don't be fooled by this jerk or Romney people, they are only working for themselves while the one man in office and fellow dems try to keep pushing things forward. Vote Obama2012.

    July 19, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  8. south side mike

    kathy/Minnesota: if you had to deal with all the crazies in the GOP you'd drink also!

    July 19, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  9. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Is Bonner a drunk? wow

    July 19, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  10. 4moreyears!

    @crybabies, Romney on the straight and narrow? And you believe this because why? Because you blow your nose with the paper products put out by the Koch brothers? That's it! The paper must be tainted with some mind controlling substance that has convinced all Republicans that it is better to have a Congress that does nothing and a Speaker that talks out both sides of his mouth than to have a country making an actual economic recovery.

    July 19, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  11. James

    What if Obama wins! Will Boehner carry on leading an obstructive Congress or will he do what is good for America? The news that Cantor and other Republican Congressmen have altered the rules on investment trade disclosure, show that money and greed are the guiding principles of the GOP. Vote Obama as he is the only one thinking about the average american.

    July 19, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  12. Dee

    Boehner and the GOP don't give a damn about the middle class and americans who are not rich what a hypocrit they have not pass anything until lately and have held the american people hostage from jobs, jobs, jobs.

    President Obama has done no more than any other President when it is time to run for office people will remember them at the polls.

    July 19, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  13. Independent

    GOP has gone crazy. I would really like to ask them that what tax breaks (for the 2%rich & small business owners) since the past 4 years has helped the economy & put people back to work. If the rich are really creating jobs how come the economy has not taken a U-turn. Why the American people still out of jobs. Some people really need to rethink if they want the same bush failed economic policy.

    July 19, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  14. apple pie

    Bohner checked out before Obama was sworn in. He made a pledge to block everything the president tried. What a hypocrite.

    July 19, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  15. Nietodarwin

    A little over 100 days and we can TAKE THE HOUSE BACK.. He stinks, but he is held hostage by truly crazy teabaggers. How do you explain voting 33 times to repeal AFA when you KNOW each time.

    What's that definition of insanity,? .....Doing something again and again and expecting a different result. I really feel sorry for poor and middle class americans who will tricked or brainwashed into voting against their own best interests, because of all this republican BS talk. TELL THEM Yes, the President is African American. No, the republicans could care less about your jobs, health care, or well being in general

    July 19, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  16. 2020

    Boehner, you really have no shame. You walk and talk like a chicken without head. You are the law maker, for christ sake. What do you care about middle class America. Between your golf game and bickering, what have you accomplished. You couldn't even get Cantor agreed with you. He walked out on you on a grand budget with Obama.

    You waste taxpayers' money to feed and house you and your gang in Congress. What all your gang have accomplished so far; obstruction of justice. block legislature.

    If you have any human decency left. God damn it, pass the job bill. America will not forgive you.

    July 19, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  17. Michael

    Not being either republican or democrat, I am mystified how Americans spend so much time blaming a President when the problem has been an extreme right wing Republican Congress, and a filabuster Republican Senate mandate. It has been like this since the day America chose a 'black' President. Obstruct and be negative no matter whatever was proposed. It is white vs the rest. It is the rich 1% vs the rest. In the end be very concerned about those who cry 'wolf' the loudest. Americans are about to be conned again by the rich white upperclass establishment for their (establishment's) benefit only.

    July 19, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  18. Name gop hate america

    Sure bohner you care so much about jobs you have voted zero times on any jobs bill and 33 to repeal the aca. Your a joke enjoy Obama for another 4 years. Hes got my vote.

    July 19, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  19. chuck weidemann

    Sounds like the speaker is about done....always saying the same thing over and over again. Probably forgets from day to for you get out much ???? How do you know the regulars so well? Pot calling the kettle black!!!

    July 19, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  20. SMH all after voting down this bill dont have ppls best interest at hand. I hope even a dummy sees not to vote for you a....wipes!!!!

    July 19, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  21. Jeff in Kansas City

    There he goes again calling wealth creators job creators again when everybody knows that it is demand that creates jobs and the only way to really create demand is with decent paying jobs and I don't mean minimum wage jobs you know real jobs where you can pay all your bills and have a little money left over to you spend it on something you want not need now that would create that much needed demand that really creates jobs.

    July 19, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  22. Glenn NM

    Gee, Mr. Speaker, you and the Republicans in Congress checked out on Election Night 2010 when you said your number one priority was to make President Obama a one-term President, and you've been doing everything in your power to make that happen. You are, by far, the worst Speaker of the House in the history of this country.

    July 19, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  23. john

    Will someone please take this drunk speaker out of the Congress please? I beg you, otherwise this country is going to go down farther with the Republican hypocrisies. Yes, voting down a job bill will definitely makes it harder for Obama to create jobs, that's what the Republicans want to achieve at all costs even if regular Americans are hurting badly. We really need to remove these Republican punk senators so that America can once again become a strong country, well respected in the world.

    July 19, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  24. BigTBone

    Repeal of Healthcare = Jobs jobs jobs.

    Now I understand...

    July 19, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  25. Glenn NM

    Considering all of the millionaires, billionaires, corporations and super-PACs trying to buy Romney the White House, Obama hasn't had much choice but to go on the road and hold fundraisers.

    July 19, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
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